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Morocco to host fourth edition of UNICEF’s Regional Media Forum on children’s issues

Amman, 18 November 2008 – Morocco is hosting a 3-day regional media forum from 25-27 November, bringing together leading journalists, broadcasters, international experts and public health professionals from 15 participating countries. The forum, to be held in Rabat, under the auspices of UNICEF, aims at boosting the media’s pivotal role in facilitating change for health-enhancing behavior. 

The Forum is expected to tackle “difficult to report” topics such as Hygiene and Sanitation – 2008 is the international Year of H & S - , HIV & Aids, maternal and child health and nutrition and their linkages to child survival and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

With a sharp focus on strategic and proven community-based health promotion and behavior change approaches, the media forum  will bring together media and public health experts, with the participation  in addition to UNICEF, of the UN Population Fund, UNFPA, the World Health Organization, Eastern Mediterranean, WHO-EMRO and the United Nations AIDS agency (UNAIDS), as well as Moroccan NGOs, and development practitioners from national and regional institutions. Morocco’s media consortium ECOMEDIA and the National Observatory on Child Rights are key national partners contributing expertise and knowledge to this Forum.

Having reached its fourth consecutive year, UNICEF’s Media Forum this time around seeks to bring to the forefront, key under-reported issues and to stimulate dialogue with media personnel to create awareness and ownership of key child survival issues.  The workshop aims to provide a forum for knowledge sharing experience from start to end, thus drawing back from conventional workshop lectures. Best practice video displays, explanation of theoretical behavior change tools with a story-telling approach and role-playing sessions are expected to reinforce this methodology.

A media panel is also to issue recommendations stemming from the journalists’ presentation of their own experiences based on reporting from the field. Working groups will combine fictional and factual scenarios to propose communication approaches to deal dealing with some of the forum’s topics.

“Media holds the key to tipping a positive behavioral change to the advantage of children and women. Many developmental and health-related topics remain vastly under-reported in the region. This  forum will serve as an instrument to bridge the knowledge gaps and have journalists raise issues of critical importance that impact the lives of children, who make more than half of the region’s population, said today Abdel-Rahman Ghandour, UNICEF’s Chief of Communication for the Middle East and North Africa.   

The Forum, is geared to build on the steadily growing momentum for stimulating debate on the rights of children, in this case, the right to life and to health, among others. It will also draw on experiences and model partnerships from other regions and establish marketplace areas for best practice exhibition. The Forum also seeks to provoke candid, frank discussions to bring media to share innovations in reporting on children and mothers’ health promotion

Rabat to announce 1st Media Prize winners

The Rabat Forum will also announce the winners of UNICEF’s first media prize on child rights; a yearly award given to four individuals for outstanding media achievement honoring best submissions in 4 categories: Television, Radio, Written Press (newspapers, magazines) and Web-based media. The first edition of the prize will award journalistic pieces which thoroughly, accurately and ethically depict the situation and challenges facing adolescents throughout the region. Next year’s award will focus on the Rabat forum theme: Health promotion and behavioral change


UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 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

Abdel-Rahman Ghandour, Regional Chief of Communication, UNICEF MENA-RO, Telephone: +9626 550 2407, E-mail: arghandour@unicef.org

Wolfgang Friedl, Communication Specialist, UNICEF MENA-RO, Telephone: +9626-5502-422, E-mail: wfriedl@unicef.org




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