Fulfilling the rights of children is not just an obligation, it makes good economic sense. The long-term losses that result from not investing in children are far greater than the cost of fulfilling their rights.
Every country that achieved middle-income status made significant investments for children. Actions that lead to the welfare of the marginalised are central to the development of a country.
Children cannot elect their representatives, but they do rely heavily on their commitments
Members of Parliament and government officials hold the authority to make laws that protect children and to make implementation an urgent priority.
Children also rely on judges, police officers, teachers, social workers, religious leaders, health and media professionals, who must have full awareness of the rights of every child.
The media is a big influencer on masses and politicians alike. The media can help children present their thoughts directly to wide audiences.
Children are also consumers of the media, which should recognise them as agents of change
In Bangladesh, the media must invest in enhancing capacity, structures, ethical practices and skills necessary for engaging with children and the issues shaping their lives. It must make space for children in the process of production. But Bangladeshi children rarely get that opportunity.
There are several challenges to raising awareness of child rights and promoting real participation of children in Bangladeshi media.
Children get less than three per cent of media’s attention, says the 2013 MICS. Among the three per cent, less than one per cent focuses on in-depth and critical issues
Bangladesh has high rates of media coverage, but disparities exist. Around 80 per cent of the population can be ‘reached’ through at least one medium, while the remaining 20 per cent, usually from hard-to-reach areas, are living in ‘media dark areas’.
‘News literacy’, which defines the capacity to demand accountability and authenticity of news, is a comparatively new concept in Bangladesh.
Without news literacy, people will fail to point out media coverage that is insensitive to children
The number of Bangladeshi children using the internet are on the rise. Around 3.3 per cent of the Bangladeshi population, who are between ages 15 and 19, represent 8 per cent of those who regularly access the internet. The internet offers profound opportunities for learning and connectivity.
But the internet has a dark side that makes children vulnerable. Risky exposure can sometimes lead to illegal activities
Some examples are: sexual grooming and exploitation; creation and distribution of child abuse images; revenge pornography, child trafficking; physical and mental abuse; sale and distribution of illegal drugs besides harassment and malicious communications. A strong legal regime is necessary to stop and prevent abuses as they evolve.