Media policymakers engage with Minister Shahrizat on children in the media
UNICEF brings together top media brass to strengthen protection for children
By Caroline Yap
KUALA LUMPUR, 6 November 2009 – Twenty-four of Malaysia’s top media professionals gathered yesterday for a lively discussion with Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Senator Dato’ Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil on the media’s role to translate the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) into reality.
The breakfast dialogue initiated by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) examined realistic approaches towards enhancing child protection and the diverse ways in which children’s rights can be incorporated into media practices.
In her keynote address, Minister Shahrizat pointed out that the responsibility of looking after children is not the sole responsibility of the Government.
“We are the custodian of the laws and policies, which emanate from the grassroots in the first place. This is a joint responsibility, and in the eight years I have been in Cabinet, the one stakeholder that makes the difference is the media,” said Minister Shahrizat. “You are the one who can make and break the future of children.”
Protecting children’s dignity
Amongst others, the meeting noted the media’s ongoing efforts to champion children’s rights and the tremendous progress made by print, broadcast and advertising media in the last twenty years to promote children’s dignity and protect their best interest.
“You (the media) are out there voicing concerns and we must reinforce this partnership,” said UNICEF Representative to Malaysia and Special Representative to Brunei. “We want to get the views of all sides so we can do better. And when we listen, we get the involvement of people.”
Participants in the dialogue included Dato’ Norhayati Ismail (Radio Telivisyen Malaysia Deputy Director General), Datuk Vincent Lee (Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia President), Datuk Yong Soo Heong (Bernama Editor-in-Chief) and Datuk Ahmad Talib (Media Prima Executive Director).
Most major media were represented as well as the Malaysian Press Institute and the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia.
Realigning commitments for children
The meeting also presented a UNICEF sponsored publication ‘Children in the Media: A Guide to Media Policy affecting Children in Malaysia’ put together by four senior media professionals, each representing a key segment of the industry: print and broadcast journalism, advertising and marketing. They are:
1. Malaysian Press Institute Chief Executive Officer Datuk Chamil Wariya;
2. Sun Media Corporation Advertising and Marketing General Manager Mr Charles Peters;
3. TBWA/Tequila Sr. Vice President Brand Ideas Mr. Jeff Orr; and,
4. Malaysian Children’s TV Foundation Chairman Mr. Sabri Abdul Rahman.
Amongst others, the booklet contains ten Guiding Principles for media, covering the importance of child rights, child protection, safety in the media workplace, children’s representation in the media, terms and conditions surrounding children’s participation in the media process, and child exploitation. It also includes extracts from 3 existing guidelines in Malaysia:
§ Children and Young Persons (Employment) Act 1966
§ Malaysian Code of Advertising Practice (2008)
§ Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission Content Code
The dialogue concluded with Minister Shahrizat giving her assurance that the ministry will engage with media practitioners to see how best to realign policies so that they protect children and yet remain realistic to implement in the course of work. She also expressed her commitment for more sessions, workshops and other ways of engagement with media professionals...............................................................................................
Children in the Media
A Guide to Media Policy in Malaysia. Read
CRC@20 newsline: Media partnerships