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Philippine’s GMA Network Inc. wins Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award 2008

© GMA Network Inc.

Bali, 24 November, 2008 —  GMA Network Inc. from the Philippines today was named the winner of this year's ABU CASBAA UNICEF Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award for its documentary entitled I-Witness: Child Beasts of Burden.
At a presentation ceremony held during the 45th ABU General Assembly in Bali, the producer Jay Taruc was lauded for the film’s gripping and powerful depiction of the daily drudgery of village children, who eke out a living by often hazardous means to support their families.

“With the global financial crisis serving as a backdrop, we were able to contribute to the growing awareness of how vicious this crime is,” said Taruc. “We wanted to focus on the countryside, where many cases of child labour abuses are left unnoticed.”

The documentary centres on a 14-year-old girl, who acts as both mother and father to her five younger siblings, and is the family breadwinner.  The camera follows her and other very young porters in the village lugging the weight of the huge logs under heavy downpours from the mountains where illegal loggers slash trees. The children trek along muddy paths up to four-hours a day to the valley where buyers await to hand over a few coins for their endeavours.
Since its inception in 2001, the Child Rights Award is given annually in recognition of the best television programming on a child rights issue produced in the Asia-Pacific region. It recognizes the efforts of broadcasters in pursuing both the production of top quality children’s programmes and better news coverage of children’s issues. This year, the Child Rights Award received a total of 69 entries from countries including China, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Hong Kong, Japan and the Philippines.

© GMA Network Inc

David Astley, Secretary-General of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, said, “The award has become the pre-eminent prize honouring the best coverage of children’s issues. It signifies the commitment and capacity of broadcasters in Asia and the Pacific to continue to produce quality programming on children’s issues that educate and inform. "
The winning entry was selected by a panel of jurors made up of distinguished television producers and industry representatives including: Amar Keshar Simha, an independent producer based in Nepal; Francis Smith, Executive Producer of Infocus Asia; Sevilay Koray, Head of Children and Youth Department of Turkish Radio & Television; Elias Khoury, Senior Producer of Al-Jazeera Children’s Channel; Toi Mien Quek, Senior Vice President of programming from HBO Asia and Jennifer Batty, Vice President of STAR World.   

Simon Twiston Davies, CEO of the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) said: “Once again, we are delighted to partner with the ABU and UNICEF on this project.  In today’s world, the collective reach of television of all kinds is more valuable than ever for the promotion of child rights and children’s welfare.” 
Madeline Eisner, UNICEF Regional Communication Advisor for East Asia and the Pacific Office said:  “This year’s winner has accentuated how the best of television journalism can shed light on the economic hardships many children bear. Other finalists also sought to expose violations of their rights while amplifying their voices and hopes. Amid fears of a global economic downturn, we are reminded, in a profound and personal way, how urgent it is that we unite to step up efforts to protect the most vulnerable of children.”

The other top nine finalists in 2008 are:
I Won The Gold Medal (China)
Producer: Weidong Zhang
Production Company: China Central Television
Xiao Chuang is a boy with IQ of 28. However, he leads a happy live because he likes swimming very much. He decides to take part in the Special Olympic Games. The film follows his bid to win a gold medal with the help of a frog.

On the Road (China)
Producer: Ning Cao,
Production Company: China Central Television
These inspiring stories are strung on a central theme: in China, there are many children who walk the long journey on foot to school every day. They have many hopes; to be healthy, to have a home closer to school and to have their mother and father accompany them to school.

A Day in a Posi+ive Life (Thailand)
Producer: Namphung Plangraun
Production Company: AIDS Access Foundation
This essay tells about the normal lives of four ordinary teenagers, tackling the issue of stigma with a lot of heart. One girl she loves learning how to be a hairdresser but laments that she has to take a pill everyday. Some day, one boy says casually, he will have to tell his future wife that he carries a disease. But right now, it is just time to be a child.

Life on the Margin - Jordan and Honey (Hong Kong)
Producer: Yu Sai (Producer), Wong Lo Tak, Elizabeth (Executive Producer)
Production Company: Radio Television Hong Kong
Honey is an Indian boy from a family of six children, a grandmother, and an uncle who juggles two jobs to support his large family. Jordan is a Chinese boy from a middle-income family. The two become friends when the former returns the latter's wallet left accidentally at a shop that sells video games. Their friendship flourishes despite the racial difference. But in the adult world, Honey's uncle has to put up with subtle racial biases.

Victor (Philippines)
Producer: Cecilia Lazaro
Production Company: ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation
Probe TV reporter, Cheche Lazaro, first met Victor Lacar when he was 12 years old. In this encounter, Victor tells his bitter story. He ran away from his mother who works as a prostitute and constantly beats him. He finds solace with other street children and roams the streets in search for home. But Victor still finds hope in life despite his situation. Years later, Lazaro catches up with the adult Victor to see how he has fared.

Tuesday Report: Home Alone (Hong Kong)
Producer: Wong Yuk Kuen, Berry
Production Company: TVB Jade Channel
With unsettling regularity, young children are left home alone. They often come from families plagued by separation or divorce, addiction to substances or gambling. Among lower classes, many parents have to work long hours and are forced to leave their young kids home untended or if lucky, at the offices of a charitable group where the kids can do their homework. The touching piece tells the story of a little girl with her old father who works nightshifts as a security guard; both are struggling but living a life filled with love and joy.                                                                                                     
Masa's Smile (Japan)
Producer: Kazuya Mitani
Production Company: Fuji Television Network Inc.
This is a documentary of children with Down’s syndrome who took part in the filming of a welfare movie. The 74-year-old director, herself, is the mother of a severely disabled daughter.

Scraping By Under Inflation (Hong Kong)
Producer: Hiu-Shan FONG, Hermia LEUNG,
Production Company: TVB Jade Channel
These are not the best of times for Hong Kong. Prices are soaring. Needy families are finding it difficult to scrape by. One family, the Ng's, is poor but they are resilient. Above all, like most people in Hong Kong, they continue to look forward to a better tomorrow.

Chikako - 13 Years Following of a Blind Girl and Her Family (Japan)
Producer: Terukazu Hoshino
Production Company: NTV Network
It follows the life of 13-year-old blind athlete and her challenge of going to Paralympics. The support of her mother and father has enabled her to overcome difficulties and become stronger. Her perseverance and successes as a long distance runner and swimmer will be an inspiration to viewers.

Note to the Editors:
More information is available at

Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU)
The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) is a non-profit, non-government, professional association of broadcasting organisations, formed in 1964 to facilitate the development of broadcasting in the Asia-Pacific region and to organize co-operative activities amongst its members. It currently has over 200  members in 57 countries, with its broadcaster members reaching a potential audience of about 3 billion people. It organizes many activities and projects to promote excellence in broadcasting, and to improve the programmes, skills and technologies of its members, including the ABU Children's TV Programme Item Exchange
Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA)
The Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) is an industry-based advocacy group dedicated to the promotion of multi-channel TV via cable, satellite, broadband and wireless video networks across the Asia-Pacific. CASBAA represents 135 + member organisations in the pay-TV business, which in turn serve more than three billion people. Patron members include Al Jazeera International, Asia Broadcast Satellite, AsiaSat, ASTRO, Australia Network, Bloomberg Television, Chunghwa Telecom, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, Disney-ABC International Television, Genesis Networks, Irdeto, ITV Global Entertainment Ltd., HBO Asia, Intelsat, Macquarie Group, Qualcomm MediaFLO Technologies, Motorola, MTV Networks Asia Pacific, NBC Universal Networks Asia Pacific, NDS, Nokia, now TV, PricewaterhouseCoopers, SES NEW SKIES, SingTel, Sony Pictures Television International, STAR Group, Tiger Gate Entertainment, Tom Group, TrueVisions, Turner International Asia Pacific and VOOM HD Networks Asia. To view the full list of CASBAA members, please visit here.
For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 155 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:
Hanizah Hamzah / Lisa Mohamad ABU, +603 2282 3592,;  
Helen Shek / Carmen Mak: CASBAA, +852 2854 9913,
Lely Djuhari   UNICEF East Asia Pacific, +66 89 223 1432



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