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Young People's Media Network in Europe and Central Asia (YPMN)
Address and contact details
Chris Schuepp, YPMN Co-ordinator
c/o ecmc (European Centre for Media Competence)
Bergstrasse 8 / 11th floor
Tel: +49 2365 502480
Mobile: +49 176 23107083
Fax: +49 2365 502480
In 1996, the Committee on the Rights of the Child
- which monitors progress on the realization of children and young
people's rights, and advises on the implementation of the UN
Convention on the Rights of the Child - held a theme day on
children and the media. One of the recommendations was that a working
group was set up to explore developing a positive relationship between
children and the media.
In late 1998, the Norwegian Government and UNICEF
responded to a request from the working group to initiate a process
that would identify examples of good practice, forge cooperative
links among the many sectors involved and produce resources to help
other players to develop this work further.
In November 1999, as part of this response, more
than 30 adult and youth participants from the worlds of film, television
and radio, government, journalism, child rights advocacy, advertising
and academia met in Oslo to identify good practice, explore possibilities
for the future, and recommend practical tools for moving ahead.
The Oslo Challenge emerged from this consultation.
It was launched on 20 November 1999, the 10th anniversary of the
Convention on the Rights of the Child. The full text of the Oslo
Challenge can be found in the MAGICbriefing
section of this website.
Against this background, UNICEF's Central and Eastern
Europe, Commonwealth of Independent States and Baltic States Regional
Office invited interested organizations, media and donors - plus
young people themselves - to join the Young People's Media Network.
The project is designed by, with and for young people in the region
to help provide them with much-needed tools and opportunities.
Just as there are hundreds of young people's media
projects - mostly working in isolation - under way throughout the
region, there are also many NGOs, media organizations and regional
or international agencies supporting media efforts by young people.
But they, too, tend to work separately, supporting small-scale projects
and country-specific initiatives.
The Young People's Media Network is an opportunity
to add value to these disparate programmes and projects through
regional linkages and exchange. UNICEF
is eager to join with established media, regional NGOs, inter-governmental
organizations, foundations and aid agencies to form the network
of young people who will be tomorrow's journalists, media professionals
Aims and objectives
The Young People's Media Network assists, connects and recognizes
youth media organizations and young people working in and with the
media. The goal is to strengthen the rights, role and voice of children
and adolescents in the opinion-making process in Europe and Central
Asia through the media.
Some YPMN activities include:
offering media opportunities to disadvantaged
and marginalized youth;
helping young people become 'connected' by facilitating Internet
access and highlighting activities designed to bridge the digital
attracting resources to facilitate the training of young
fostering exchange visits and electronic information sharing
between young people working with the media throughout the region;
offering opportunities for participants in the network to
meet and share ideas, and contacts through workshops and other gatherings;
offering awards for outstanding media products by young people;
establishing a directory of media internship and employment
opportunities and initiatives for and by young people.
Young people in Europe and Central Asia
Children and young people in Europe and Central
Asia, but also parents, teachers, opinion-makers and governments.
Giving young people an opportunity to become an
active part of society by granting them access to the media will
gradually strengthen civil society and, most importantly, strengthen
the role of children and youth throughout the region.
Involvement of children
Direct and active participation of children and young people
is the underlying principle of the Young People's Media Network.
Summary of project
This initiative is envisaged as a 'bottom-up' endeavour
that truly reflects the needs and interests of those young people
who will become active participants in the network. The heart of
the network is its members: children and young people from grassroots
youth media projects in Western as well as Eastern Europe and Central
Asia. There are hundreds of such projects in existence already and
they will benefit enormously from the YPMN peer exchanges, training
and internship opportunities, equipment donations, media fairs and
UNICEF covers the cost for the initial phase of
the Young People's Media Network. However, in order to transform
the YPMN into a functioning partnership initiative, we encourage
international donor organizations, governments and foundations to
contribute to the YPMN. If you are interested in supporting the
initiative, please contact the YPMN coordinator, Chris Schuepp,
through the contact info given above.
Strengths of project
The YPMN will play a large role in ensuring that
young people participate in the construction of new societies in
the 'transition countries' of the Former Soviet Union and on the
Balkan Peninsula. It recognizes the tremendous impact that positive,
dynamic and professional media can have on society, and supports
young people as they exercise their right to access and share information
through the media. In Western Europe it will lead to a better understanding
among young people of the problems faced by their youth counterparts
in transition countries, and it will connect them with young media
practitioners from Eastern European countries.
The following quotes from YPMN members give an
insight into the obstacles faced by young people wanting to participate
in the media in different areas throughout the region:
"Young people's interests are not covered widely in Kyrgyzstan.
There are only two or three youth TV programmes on Kyrgyz TV. TV
channels are not interested in non-commercial programmes. It would
be much better if we have more TV youth programmes, more youth media
organizations; because there is no other one, besides our Children's
Media Center in Bishkek. It would be very good if youth have more
youth newspapers. Maybe YPMN will help us; the participants will
share their experiences." Children's Media Center, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
"The media in Macedonia are generally focused on
political and economical issues in the country. The social and community
issues are not covered enough or at all. The youth issues in Macedonia
often are seen from educational or criminal perspectives. We need
to make bridges of communication between youth of the region, help
to overcome the prejudices and taboos, and to create close relations
between young people, no matter of the state borders." Antoaneta
Ivanova, 23, Macedonia
"Unfortunately, most of the youth media in Russia
is entertainment-oriented. In our opinion, journalists (particularly
young people) must be motivated to cover serious social issues,
and trained how to do it. Teenagers need to be provided with a source
of objective information on everyday issues, such as family problems,
health care, education, job opportunities or legal advice. The Young
People's Media Network gives an opportunity for professional experience
Irina Kocheleva, 22, Federation of Russia
"We need more youth newspapers, radio and TV programmes
made by and for young people. And not only for youth from cities,
but for those from rural areas too. The problem is that if in cities
this situation is bearable, in villages it is lamentable. We think
that to develop school newspapers would be the easiest first step
in improving this situation. Our newspaper Young Non-stop
we distribute in all regions of the country. But in order to reach
everybody, the radio programmes would be extremely necessary." Lulia
Sevciuc, 19, Republic of Moldova
Youth media organizations can make a real impact
by taking up youth-related issues and projecting them, via the media,
to a larger audience.
Research shows that not enough is being done to help young people
actively participate in the shaping and making of media in this
Slowly, international donor organizations and governments
are beginning to understand the implications of youth participation
and the role of young people in the media.
"Young people tend to be marginalized by mainstream
media and youth media empowers youth to present a self-determined,
alternative media representation.
"This representation has the potential to influence how communities,
peers and hopefully policy makers view young people. As youth media
makers communicate, investigate and articulate their views they
recognize the importance of holding themselves, their communities
and people in power accountable for their actions." Anna Lefer,
program officer at the Open Society Institute's Youth Initiatives
The Young People's Media Network will evaluate
the progress of this new understanding and we hope to contribute
to a wider acceptance of youth media organizations and youth media
outlets and strengthen their role in society.
Troç and Radio
Salam in the MAGICbank are just two of our partners in the YPMN
initiative. See their descriptions for more information.
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