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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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