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Policy advocacy and partnerships for children's rights

Youth voices resound on the airwaves in Nigeria and Malaysia

International Children’s Day of Broadcasting

© TRAXXfm/2010
TRAXXfm youth radio DJs work on their final presentation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

NEW YORK, USA, 6 April 2010 – On Sunday, 7 March, radio and television audiences around the globe tuned in as local stations took part in the 19th annual International Children’s Day of Broadcasting (ICDB) – and reports about young voices resounding over the airwaves have been coming in for the past month. 

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To celebrate the event, television and radio programmes that typically cater to general audiences created special programming focused on children’s issues. Broadcasters with regular children’s programming also took part, producing shows based on this year’s ICDB theme, ‘All Rights, All Children.’ 

ICDB programming involves broadcasters and young people in a unique learning relationship, which has the potential to make a lasting impact on the lives of children. Youths involved in these programmes take part in workshops and training sessions led by broadcast journalists who teach them how to produce and present their own stories.

For example, two broadcast outlets, Silverbird TV (Nigeria) and TRAXXfm (Malaysia), produced special shows by working closely with young people. Children took charge of the studios – from writing and hosting to shooting and editing – and made ICDB a unique celebration they could call their own. 

Nigerian youth trained in TV

Silverbird TV embodied this approach with a month-long project that brought more than 60 students from six different secondary schools in Lagos, Nigeria, to work in the production studio. The students, between 13 and 16 years of age, spent two weeks as producers and reporters in training and presented the broadcaster’s regular programming for one day.

The participants also organized their own youth parliament and broadcast a mock session entitled ‘The Kids Portfolio’ on television. The programme gave students the opportunity to propose bills related to youth rights to an audience of government dignitaries.

Oyeronke Oyebanji, 14, one of the students who acted as a member of the parliament, said her favourite part was being able to speak out about what she sees as the biggest problem for youth in Nigeria today: child street trading. “It hurts when I go to school every day... and I see my neighbours hawking on the street instead of being in the classroom, studying,” she said.

Silverbird TV and its partner schools are resolved to continue the successful trainings and workshops in the future, encouraging children and adolescents to think about the issues that affect them and providing them with a platform to air their opinions.

Malaysian radio DJ workshop

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, TRAXXfm is the only public radio station that broadcasts 24 hours a day, reaching almost 90 per cent of the population. Its youth programming consists of music shows as well as a youth-focused community voices programme.

Buoyed by winning a 2009 regional ICDB Award, and inspired by other winning broadcasters’ programmes, TRAXXfm set out this year to deepen its approach to youth programmes and to get children involved in the production side of radio. 

The station began its 2010 ICDB participation by hitting the road with its training workshop, ‘I Wanna Be a DJ.’  The day-long workshops, conducted in five Malaysian states, were open to anyone between the ages of 12 and 15. They were led by TRAXXfm DJs who taught participants about various radio formats, such as talk shows and magazine shows.

The best programmes from each workshop are currently being aired periodically on the station’s newly installed mini-segment dedicated to children, ‘Listen Up.’

Changing listeners' views

Participant Umar Hakeem Bin Zylkarnain, 14, was happy to work with young people from other ethnic groups represented in Malaysia. “We all worked together in a team,” he said. “It’s important because Malaysia is multi-racial, and we have to work towards tolerance and respect.”

Workshop participants also took part in several live call-in shows, broadcast for ICDB, focusing on youth-related topics.

While the workshops in Malaysia were short-lived, they made lasting impressions. “I came to believe that radio can actually change the views of many people,” said Umar.

On its first workshop tour, TRAXXfm DJs trained 150 teenagers. This month, they start a second tour. Working closely with Challenges, Malaysia’s first cross-disability magazine, they will conduct a workshop for 20 young people with disabilities from around the country.




Hear ICDB participant Oyeronke Oyebanji, 14, share her experiences from the Silverbird TV youth mdia project in Nigeria.
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