International Children's Day of Broadcasting 2005 in Pakistan
RADIO PROGRAMMES BY CHILDREN FOR CHILDREN EXPRESS SOLIDARITY WITH EARTHQUAKE VICITIMS AS PART OF ICDB 2005 IN PAKISTAN
Islamabad, December 10: International Children’s Day of Broadcasting (ICDB) comes round again and is celebrated worldwide this year on December 11. ICDB is a UNICEF initiative all about encouraging young people to express their views and ensuring their opinions, thoughts and dreams are widely heard. This is done by increasing their access to the broadcast media and helping them master the technology, so that what they create and produce can be shared with a mass audience.
In Pakistan in past years UNICEF has encouraged broadcasters to celebrate the day by producing quality programmes for children, and has distributed some specially made for young people by broadcasters in other countries. With no television station in Pakistan yet having a dedicated children’s channel, this output has been important and this year the good track record continues with PTV, HUM TV and 3 FM stations, FM 100 Karachi, Sunrise FM 97 and FM 101 all showcasing special programming on Sunday in which young people play a central role.
The real thrust and significance of ICDB however, is to empower young people to determine the content and style of the productions, radio or television, that they want - and to have control of the entire process of production. In this ideal ICDB scenario the youth not only come up with the ideas, they script write, work as technicians, direct, narrate and present the programmes.
Of Pakistan’s mass media, radio has huge potential, particularly in rural areas, to access the key youth audiences which UNICEF is committed to reaching with messages about life skills, health, or HIV and AIDS. Pakistan’s teenage age group (12-19) makes up 27 percent of the country’s population. In a developing media environment, FM radio stations are increasing rapidly in all parts of the country as a popular and powerful channel for news and information dissemination.
For ICDB 2005 in Pakistan radio was therefore selected for support by UNICEF as the medium, and a groundbreaking partnership established with Campus Radio FM 107, based at Peshawar University’s Mass Communication faculty in North West Frontier Province (NWFP).
Campus Radio FM 107 has outreach to Peshawar University’s 40,000 strong student body, resident on the campus and in the city’s surrounding areas, including some tribal areas. The Mass Communication students have been working for the last few months with a pilot group of young broadcasters, 12 children aged 11-12, on a UNICEF-assisted series of programmes. The first of 6 programmes in the series entitled “Bazme--Naunehal – Azme--Naunehal, (World of Children, Spirit of Children)’ airs at 17.00 on Sunday.
In recognition of the way life for thousands of Pakistan’s young people has been radically transformed by October 8’s earthquake, a key segment of the programme was recorded in the tented camp of Ghari Habibullah where 3000 internally displaced people are living. In this, the young interviewers from the Campus Radio team meet with girls and boys, offering them the opportunity to express how the disastrous impact on their home communities and the new experiences of camp life have altered forever their daily reality as well as their vision
of the future. Campus Radio subsequently invited Peshawar school students to the studio to hear these recorded interviews and in a moving sharing of views they express their solidarity with the difficult circumstances which the affectee youth are going through.
A further segment of Sunday’s programme was created in recognition of the 2005 ICDB theme “Let’s Play!” focusing on the role of sports and recreation in development and peace. This takes the form of a lively discussion about the need for recreational activities and the young people’s interest in different sports, and comments on the obstacles girls find when wanting to compete on equal terms with boys in the playground.
The radio series will continue into 2006 with programmes in a variety of formats created around subject areas chosen by the youth broadcasters. This will be joined by a television broadcast initiative to be planned along similar consultative lines with youth groups, entailing maximum participation in the process of programme development.
Both initiatives represent exciting progress and a prelude in Pakistan to broadening the vision of ICDB and further facilitating and involving children and youth in the entire programming process for broadcasting - so that this becomes a meaningful and positive experience for them, as well as playing a vital role in raising awareness about rights and development issues concerning children and young people.