Tokyo/Hong Kong/Kuala Lumpur/Bangkok. 7 November 2002 - Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) has been named the winner of the 2002 ABU/CASBAA UNICEF Child Rights Award, which will be presented 7 November at the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union's annual meeting in Tokyo.
RTHK beat out nine other finalists shortlisted in the competition for the annual Child Rights award, which is given in recognition of the best television programme on an issue related to children's rights produced in the Asia-Pacific region.
The winning entry by RTHK, "Child Soldiers", an international standard documentary produced in co-operation with ABC, OPB and Electric Pictures Pty. Ltd., documents the plight of child combatants. According to a report released by the UNICEF last week, up to one quarter of the estimated 300,000 children currently serving in state and non-state armies around the world can be found in the East Asia and Pacific Region.
The 49-minute, four-part documentary was described by one of the competition's judges as "compelling first-person accounts from young fighters in countries dotted across the globe". Another judge commented that "the images of child 'killers' at work as soldiers are heart-breaking to see. To hear them speak of how they have been dragged, brutalized and indoctrinated is a shame to humanity".
The production team was commended for their "well-directed" work, which clearly focuses on the issue and the good approach" as well as for their dedication and commitment - even to the extent of risking their lives - to expose the horror of child soldiering.
"The film crossed numerous cultures and made powerful use of international news footage in explaining the global problem of child and teenage soldiers," one judge said.
Through the annual competition, the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, CASBAA and UNICEF seek to encourage broadcasters to play a more active role in promoting and protecting the rights of children by providing them with a regular diet of quality television programming. The organizations are urging broadcasters to forward overall child development in their countries by producing documentaries that detail the plight of children, dramas that help break down gender stereotypes and reduce discrimination and animation that both teaches and entertains.
Competing for the award were 46 programmes submitted by 22 broadcasters from 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific Region. The other finalists in this year's competition were:
"A World of Red" (Drama), submitted by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, Channel-1
"I ran and ran" (2D animation), submitted by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, Channel-1
"The Broken Schoolhouse" (Documentary), submitted by Hong Kong TV Broadcast Ltd., Jade Channel
"My Dad is an Old Man" (Documentary), submitted by Hong Kong TV Broadcast Ltd., Jade Channel
"Dance of Fire - A Rebel Teacher and Sixty Kids" (Documentary), submitted by Mainichi Broadcasting System, Inc.
"Another Bumpy" (Drama), submitted by Doordarshan Kendra Kolkata, Channel DD1
"Decision at Age 18" (Documentary), submitted by NHK
"Speak Your Mind Special: Regine Velasquez in Philippines" (Documentary), submitted by MTV Networks Asia
"The Big Help - GIVE" (TV spot), submitted by Nickelodeon - Asia.
Note: The Award ceremony will be held at the NHK Hall, inside the compound of NHK Broadcasting Centre where it is also NHK Symphony Orchestra's home concert hall. The ceremony will take place from 17:30-19:00 on November 7, in conjunction with an Asian music concert that will be live broadcast in BS-2 and HDTV channel.
For further information, please contact:
Emily Booker, UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office,
Tel: (66 2) 356 9400; fax: (66 2) 2803563 to 4;
Urai Singhpaiboonporn Tel: (66 2) 356 9409,