UNITE FOR CHILDREN-- UNICEF

Press Centre 2009/11/06: Children’s Rights

Turkish universities champion child rights
More countries expected to follow in promoting responsible news reporting of children

Photograph by Oktay Üstün / November 2009 / 4663
Dublin Institute of Technology participated in the ceremony by live video feed

ISTANBUL, November 6, 2009 — Seven Turkish universities are leading the way in European journalism studies by teaching a new child rights syllabus as part of their degree courses.

UNICEF Central and Eastern Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States Regional Director, Steven Allen, said: “The rights of children, their right to expression, to have a say in matters affecting them, to have their opinions heard, are all too often either ignored, or unknown, in news reporting. This child rights syllabus will provide young journalists with new tools for their profession, and we hope it will enable children to be more readily heard and listened to.”

The Child Rights Syllabus was formally launched at a ceremony at Ankara University, Ankara, on November 6, in the presence of all partners in the project and the Deputy Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Nevzat Pakdil. A centrepiece of the launch ceremony was a joint signing by all parties of bound copies of the syllabus.

Photograf by Oktay Ustun / November 2009 / 4700
UNICEF ODA/BDT Region Director Steven Allen adressing to the participants at the openning ceremony of the "child rights lecture". Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey

The Child Rights Syllabus has been written and designed, including an e-learning platform, by the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Ireland. The DIT team contributed to the ceremony in a live video weblink between Dublin and Ankara.

DIT’s Head of Journalism, and joint author of the syllabus, Michael Foley, said: "If journalism students have an understanding of what is meant by children's rights and issues relating to childhood, they have a remarkable weapon for holding governments to account, ensuring a major part of the population has a voice and a source of good stories when they graduate and begin to work in newsrooms.”

Photograph by Oktay Üstün / November 2009 / 4814
UNICEF ODA/BDT Region Director Steven Allen signing a copy of the programme for the child rights lecture.

A technical team composed of academics from the seven Turkish Universities; Istanbul University, Galatasaray University, Gazi University, Ankara University, Anadolu University, Bilgi University and Istanbul Aydin University have worked closely with academics from the Dublin Institute of Technology in order to adapt the syllabus and learning materials for their journalism degree courses.

Those studying the syllabus earn credit points recognized within European Union universities. Already, a second wave of universities in eastern European countries has begun the process of adapting the syllabus their journalism degree courses and it is hoped the experiences gleaned in Turkey will further refine this exciting development in shaping the ethics and standards of news reporting on children.

For more information contact UNICEF CEE/CIS Communication Officer, Mervyn Fletcher on +41 22 909 5433, mfletcher@unicef.org & UNICEF Turkey Communication Officer Sema Hosta on + 90 312 454 1000, shosta@unicef.org

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