UNICEF volunteers - young reporters take over the Ministry of Culture
On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF volunteers - young reporters from the media literacy campaign “Let’s Choose What We Watch” took over the Ministry of Culture today
CETINJE, 14 October 2019 - In the future, children and young people will take a more active part in creating cultural policy strategies intended for the youngest audience, and the Ministry of Culture will always support any cultural activity related to children and their creative work. This is a promise that was made by the Minister of Culture, Aleksandar Bogdanović, during a meeting with UNICEF volunteer young reporters from the media literacy campaign “Let’s Choose What We Watch”, who took over the Ministry of Culture today to celebrate the 30th birthday of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The current five-year Cultural Development Programme expires next year, and we are about to start drafting a new five-year policy document. I take this opportunity to invite you to join us and take an active role in the programming of our commitments in the area of the cultural needs of children and young people, because it is important for us to hear your voice.
According to a survey conducted within the media literacy campaign, two-thirds of children in Montenegro have not visited a theatre during the past year; 75% of children have not gone to a museum; 85% have not visited an art exhibition; almost two-thirds have not attended a music concert. Young reporter Nađa Lalović indicates that this data points to the significant educational and cultural poverty of children and, therefore, the spiritual poverty of the entire country. Minister Bogdanović agreed with this view and asked young people for help in terms of identifying the reasons why children and young people had such an attitude towards the cultural and artistic content offered in our country.
In this way, we can make a joint effort to find a good solution and the right answer to this attitude of young people towards cultural activities. I also believe that we must approach this challenge systemically, that is, we need to involve the broader community and several different sectors.
Young reporter Jovana Popović reminded the minister that there were many children in our country who would love to go to music concerts, theatre performances, or who would gladly see a ballet or opera, but simply did not have this opportunity, as this content is not available in their cities, or it was offered very rarely, which was especially the case in the north of the country.
Answering this question, Minister Bogdanović promised that the programmes of all cultural institutions under the ministry’s jurisdiction would be made accessible and visible in all Montenegrin cities, not only on the stages of the home institutions.
“Thus, the Montenegrin National Theatre and the Zetski dom Royal Theatre will perform their plays outside Podgorica and Cetinje as well, on stages in other cities of the country’s south and north. The same will apply to concerts of the Musical Centre and exhibitions of the Contemporary Art Centre,” Bogdanović said.
Visits to music concerts, art exhibitions and book promotions are free of charge, while for organized visits to theatres, film screenings or museums there is a symbolic fee.
Young reporter Dunja Sekulović, a student at Vasa Pavić Secondary Ballet School, said that young ballerinas did not have adequate training spaces, as well as that the stage there is inappropriate for performing professional ballet. Minister Bogdanović indicated that he would talk to the Minister of Education, Damir Šehović, about resolving this issue.
The young reporters thanked Minister Bogdanović for letting them take over his role in the Ministry of Culture for a day, reminding that children and young people have developed creativity and learnt to express their emotions and attitudes in an original and convincing way through art.
ZThat is why today, having taken over the Ministry of Culture of Montenegro, we are saying – ‘Culture for every child!
At the end of the meeting, inspired by survey data which indicates that one in five children aged 9–17 had not read any books beyond the mandatory school reading in the past year, Bogdanović presented the young reporters with a book titled “Montenegrin Dynasties”, concluding the discussion with the following message: “Let’s read more, let’s choose what we read!”.
The media literacy campaign “Let’s Choose What We Watch” was launched by the Agency for Electronic Media of Montenegro and UNICEF in February last year. A year after its launch, half of the citizens of Montenegro have heard of the campaign, which aims to encourage the development of children’s and parents’ media literacy, as well as to strengthen the media’s capacity to produce high-quality media content with children and young people and to report on all issues of children’s rights in Montenegro in an ethically adequate manner. The campaign recently received a Global Media and Information Literacy Award, which was presented by the UNESCO-led Global Alliance for Partnership on Media and Information Literacy in collaboration with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the University Network.