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Filmmaker wins award for documenting ‘Children Left Behind’ in rural China

© UNICEF Hong Kong/2007/Bloemen
TV producer Catherine Lee (far left) and colleagues from TVB Jade accepting the Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award for the documentary, ‘Children Left Behind’.

By Shantha Bloemen

HONG KONG, China, 2 November 2007 – Catherine Lee Yuk San, a TV producer with Hong Kong broadcaster TVB Jade, has won this year’s Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award for her documentary, ‘Children Left Behind’.

The programme – which highlights the plight of children in rural China whose parents migrate to the cities in search of work – was selected from more than 50 entries across the region.

“It an honour to get this prize,” said the producer. “It’s very meaningful to me, because as a journalist I have a responsibility to report and share these types of stories with the public.”

Hong Kong Goodwill Ambassador Miriam Yeung, well known singer and actress, presented the award at the annual Turner Ball, a fundraising event for UNICEF. Hosted by CNN’s Richard Quest, this year’s ball capped the annual Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) convention, a week-long industry gathering of some of Asia’s largest media companies.

‘They live lonely lives’

While researching the extent of rural-to-urban migration in China, Ms. Lee realized that many children were becoming economic orphans as their parents left in search of work. 

“They have parents, but they just live on their own,” she explained. “They live very lonely lives. They eat alone, they play alone. Although it is their basic right to have their parent’s love, concern and care, in reality you can see that they live like an orphan. “

© UNICEF Hong Kong/2007/McBride
‘Children Left Behind’ highlights the plight of children in rural China whose parents migrate to cities in search of work.

The Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award is jointly organized each year by CASBAA and the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, two of the most powerful media industry bodies in the region, and UNICEF.

This is the sixth time the award has been presented, attracting a stronger field of entries each year. “There are more broadcasters making submissions,” said the CEO of CASBAA, Simon Twiston Davies. “The production quality and the insights of the broadcasts has improved year on year.”

Child rights come of age

The Asia-Pacific award goes to the production making the most significant contribution to child rights, and this year it coincides with the coming of age of the most widely ratified child rights treaty.

“The Convention on the Rights of the Child turns 18, and clearly the media has a very important role to play in giving voice to children, and giving voice to their concerns and their issues,” said UNICEF’s Regional Communication Advisor for East Asia and the Pacific, Madeline Eisner.

“This award spotlights so many of the significant issues that touch the lives of children here in Asia,” she added. “For example, issues like child violence, issues of HIV/AIDS or juvenile justice – those are all really important issues that are heartfelt and touch personal lives and are important to tell.”

“There are many, many children, millions of children across Asia, who need our support and the support of the broadcasting industry,” said Mr. Twiston Davies. “We can provide a unique platform for those who are promoting good things for children.”

And with regional broadcasters moving into the ever-expanding space provided by new media, programming on child rights issues is expected to find ever-larger audiences.




UNICEF correspondent Rob McBride reports on this year’s recipient of the Asia-pacific Child Rights Award.
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