Children and the media
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Declaring for children
The media world is not short of aspirational pledges
to do good, and there is a substantial body of formal declarations
and resolutions referring to the relationship between the media
and children (see the MAGICgovernment
section of this website for examples of these pledges). None have
the force of law, but they can assist understanding that there is
growing concern about the function of mass media in children's lives.
At the heart of all of them is an acknowledgement
that children deserve good quality media products, and that they
have a contribution to make to the media products directed at them.
Given the near universal ratification of the UN
Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the global influence
of the most significant media owners, the least daunting of the
challenges facing those wishing to strengthen the positive relationship
between children and the media would appear to be convincing key
players of the value of a 'top-down' commitment to children. Of
course, in a highly competitive environment it is never going to
be easy to persuade industry leaders to adopt common policies.
There is also scope for pressure to come from children
themselves, from their advocates and from within the media professions.
While cultural differences may be expressed through the variety
of standards set by state and national media industry regulation,
mere compliance is insufficient. What is needed is a compact between
the media industries and children with a recognition of children's
rights at its heart.
By networking across borders and disciplines, and
by seeking to place children on the agenda for all gatherings at
all levels of the media - from trades unions to professional organizations,
trade associations and international media events - children's advocacy
groups and those sympathetic to promoting the rights of children
within the media could have a significant impact upon industry thinking
about the way in which children are both represented and encouraged
to participate in mass media.
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