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In Amman, UNICEF regional media awards honour coverage of adolescents

© UNICEF Jordan/2009
At the media awards ceremony in Amman: UNICEF Regional Director Sigrid Kaag (left), Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah (fourth from left) and honourees (left to right) Manal Salhya, Mohammed Al Jabri, Sameer Mohammad al-Mathkhaji and Abeer Salahudin.

AMMAN, Jordan, 2 March 2009 – The first UNICEF Regional Awards for Media on Child Rights were handed out last week at an official ceremony in Amman, under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, UNICEF’s Eminent Advocate for children.

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UNICEF Regional Director Sigrid Kaag thanked Queen Rania for supporting the event. Ms. Kaag emphasized the media’s important role in coverage of child and adolescents rights, noting that ‘adolescence’ was the theme of this year’s media awards.

Adolescence is an age of transition, questioning and many apparent contradictions, she said, and covering it is a special challenge for the media.

Honours in four categories
Awards in four media categories were given at the Amman ceremony.

  • In the television category, the winner was Manal Salhya from Syria for her film, ‘Al Muna’ataf’ (The Turning Point), which tackles the challenges facing four adolescents girls in the absence of the parental supervision.
  • In the radio category, the award went to Sameer Mohammad al-Mathkhaji from Yemen for his programme, ‘From the Children’s Memories’, which discusses critical issues such as children’s rights, early marriages, HIV and AIDS, and religious extremism.
  • For printed media, the honouree was Abeer Salahudin from Egypt for her Sabah al-Khair Magazine article about the unhealthy temptations that face adolescents, and ways to avoid them.
  • For electronic media, Mohammad al-Jabri from Yemen clinched the award for an investigation he conducted for IRIN, the Humanitarian News Service of the United Nations, on street children in Yemen.

In addition, special awards went to Khaled Khlaif Koteish from Jordan and Mahmoud Waddah al-Jaabari from the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Both are determined 16-year-olds who produced media projects without financial support from any governmental or private entity.

‘Media is a double-edged sword’
The award jury consisted of experts in media, current and former UNICEF officials and Egyptian actor Mahmoud Kabil, UNICEF’s Regional Goodwill Ambassador for the Middle East and North Africa.

© UNICEF Jordan/2009
Regional Director Sigrid Kaag stresses the importance of media coverage of issues facing adolescents in the Middle East and North Africa.

“Media is a double-edges sword, which should cover and promote issues related to children,” said Mr. Kabil. “It is important to recognize journalists who shed light on the reality of children and recommend solutions to problems related to children in the Arab world.”

After the ceremony, the winners, jury members and other media representatives took part in the discussion on the challenges of covering adolescent issues.

Awards’ first year
The awards were launched by UNICEF this year to help engage regional media in highlighting child and adolescent issues, promoting young people’s rights and accurately portraying the difficulties they face.

UNICEF is now accepting applications for the next Regional Award for Media in the Middle East and North Africa. The subject of this award is ‘promoting health and changing behaviours’, and the deadline for applications is 15 September 2009. For details, please e-mail arghandour@unicef.org




25 February 2009: UNICEF correspondent Eduardo Cure reports on the first UNICEF Regional Awards for Media on Child Rights in the Middle East and North Africa.
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