Marking the conclusion of the two-day workshop under the slogan ‘Child Friendly Media’
Sharjah, October 18, 2017,
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Media Council, stressed the keenness of Sharjah, including its various media institutions, to develop a child-friendly media system that upholds values aimed at protecting children’s rights and addressing different childhood-related issues in accordance with the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi said that the signing of the ‘Professional Principles of Arab Media in Handling Child Right Issues’ Wall Pledge reflects Sharjah’s commitment to principles related to childhood and in conformity with international standards of child rights.
The event took place after a workshop which was organised by the Sharjah Baby Friendly Office (SBFO) titled ‘The Professional Principles for Arab Media in Handling Child Rights Issues,’ under the slogan ‘Child Friendly Media,’ on 17-18 October, at Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort and Spa.
The workshop was conducted in collaboration with the Sharjah Media Corporation (SMC), the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and in partnership with the Arab Council for Childhood and Development (ACCD), and the Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND).
The Chairman of the Sharjah Media Council expressed his deep appreciation for the efforts of the Arab Council for Childhood and Development, the League of Arab States and other Arab bodies and institutions striving to support Arab children’s issues and raise awareness of their rights. He asserted the importance of programmes aimed at enabling Arab media to disseminate the culture of child rights.
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi pointed to initiatives and achievements carried out by Sharjah for the support of children, which resulted in the Emirate being named the world’s first baby-friendly city and regions first candidate for UNICEF’s Child Friendly City initiative. He confirmed that the Emirate’s media system aligns with its numerous pro-child achievements.
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi mentioned that the Sharjah Government Media Bureau has recently issued a book titled ‘Press: Ethics & Career’, which touches upon the mechanism of professional ethical handling of family and child issues.
He pointed to media’s vital role in developing children cognitively, intellectually and psychologically, and supporting their causes and rights. He called for caution when dealing with negative childhood-related issues and for focusing on promoting positive values and spreading happiness among children.
The workshop’s concluding ceremony was attended by Shahida Azfar, Representative ad interim at UNICEF Gulf Area Office, Dr. Essam Ali, Social Policy Specialist at UNICEF Gulf Area Office, Mohamed Reda Fawzy, Director of Research and Knowledge Development at ACCD, His Excellency Mohammed Hassan Khalaf, Director General of Sharjah Media Corporation (SMC); His Excellency Tariq Saeed Allay, Director of the Sharjah Government Media Bureau ; Engineer Khalid Al Ali, Secretary-General of the Sharjah Urban Planning Council (SUPC); Hassan Yaqoub Al Mansouri, Acting Secretary General of Sharjah Media Council, Dr. Khaled Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Media City (Shams), as well as a host of media experts and child rights specialists.
The workshop was conducted to support the creation of a general framework for a joint Arab media strategy based on ethical and professional principles while handling child rights issues, and help the establishment of a ‘Child Friendly Media’. The workshop comprised five discussion panels and practical sessions attended by media personnel and child rights experts.
The participants made a concluding statement, which featured a number of recommendations that emphasised the importance of creating a unified national media policy for children based on a developmental and rights-based approach as a media priority. The statement also underscored the importance of organising workshops, discussion panels and training courses for media personnel, and in doing so, contribute to raising awareness on child rights issues in the media.
The workshop also stressed the importance of enhancing the educational role of the media with children, families, and child carers, so they are equipped with the proper methods to deal with the media, in order to avoid any harmful implications. It also highlighted the need to produce programmes and films for children and youth that hold child rights as its core message, as well as introduce adult viewers to contemporary parenting, in innovative ways.
The workshop called to raise awareness about UAE’s Child Protection Law, also known as Wadeema’s Law, among relevant media institutions. It encouraged them to further their efforts and understand their role in raising awareness about child rights issues, and how it integrates with the role of child-related institutions, particularly the family and the school. The ultimate goal would be to enable upbringing in conformity with global standards, and contribute to building a knowledge-based society.
The participants called for revitalising the role of media councils in terms of monitoring, follow-up, and accountability with respect to professional violations in child rights issues. They also highlighted the role of media governing principles that promote children’s participation in preparing, and broadcasting media programmes that protect their rights and encourage participatory dialogue, freedom of thought and their role in public life.
The workshop saw the participation of 50 representatives of different media and child related institutions, and adopted several interactive methods such as plenary sessions and group discussions, among others.
– Ends –
- Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi with the attendees at the closing ceremony of the two day workshop.
- Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, and Dr Hessa Khafan Al Ghazal, honour HE Mohammad Hassan Khalaf, Director General of SMC, during the ceremony.
- Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, and Dr Hessa Khafan Al Ghazal, honour HE Tariq Saeed Allay, Director of the Sharjah Government Media Bureau.
- Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi signs the covenant on the professional principles to address child rights in Arab media.
- Group image with Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi and the partners and organisers of the workshop.
- Group image of the workshop participants.
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