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Sub-regional conference on “Communicating with children” held in Budva

BUDVA, Montenegro, 29 April 2014 - How to produce quality television programs and content for children was the key challenge discussed at a regional conference “Communicating with Children” being held in Montenegro this week.

Panelists during the conference “Communicating with children” - UNICEF Montenegro / 2014

Television professionals, representatives of regulatory bodies, institutions for the protection of children’s rights and experts from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia attended the conference which was organised by UNICEF.

The aim of the conference is to develop guidelines and policy frameworks to support the development of media programmes which help realise the rights of children and contribute to their development.

“As regards TV and media, I think one of the key aspects is to ask oneself what am I doing, what will I do, will it influence a child in a positive or negative way.  I think we have to be aware of the child when we take such decisions,” said John Budd, UNICEF CEE/CIS Chief of Communication.

UNICEF Montenegro Goodwill Ambassador, Antonije Pušić, is worried about the general media content to which children are exposed every day. “This exceptional and expert effort by UNICEF’s specialists to make special programmes which would have specific media slots will have little effect if we do not pursue a more rigorous policy particularly towards commercial media,” said Mr. Pušić.

Opening the conference, Montenegro’s Minister of culture, Branislav Mićunović, thinks that it is important to raise media’s awareness and interest in making quality programmes for children. “Generally speaking, media in the region are not interested enough in making children’s’ programmes.”

Barbara Kolucki, author of the guide “Communicating with children” - UNICEF Montenegro / 2014

“Therefore, what we are talking about at this conference is that it is very important to raise the awareness of the media about the role they have in the growth of each child and thereby stimulating them to make a positive contribution, which this conference will certainly do and will make a step forward in that direction.”

The producer and artistic director of the Festival of Child Rights in Croatia, Tatjana Aćimović, explains that the biggest problem is that, for television companies in the region, financing children's programmes nearly always takes last place.

“First in terms of importance is the money invested in the news programme, then come sport and entertainment, with the children’s programme at the end. Very little is produced. Programmes which should be broadcast in some important slots in prime time are put out in slots which are really not good, such as early morning or afternoon,” Ms. Aćimović pointed out.

Particular attention was paid at the conference to the making of inclusive media content which promotes the potential of young people with disabilities and makes possible their equal participation in society.

“I would specially highlight children with disabilities who are often exposed to stigmatisation. I think that we need to look at these children in a way which includes them in society and not to show them in a way which makes them out to be different,” John Budd, UNICEF CEE/CIS Chief of Communication concluded.

The conference “Communicating with Children” was organised by the UNICEF offices in Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia.



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