Tuesday, 06 December 2011 06:49

SOUTH SUDAN: Information DG Urges Media Houses to Produce Children-Friendly Programmes


The Director General of Information in the Republic of South Sudan's Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Mr. Mustafa Biong Majak has urged media practitioners to be mindful of children in relation to what they air and publish as children constitute a great number of their audiences.

Mr. Majak made this call at the closure of a two-day joint media training workshop on ethical reporting on children organized by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Hotel Intra- Africa in Juba over the weekend. He said the long civil war has diverse negative impact on the minds of children and that all they think of is guns and tanks.

"Those days if you asked a kid to draw a picture of something, he/she would most likely draw a picture of a cow, but today ask a child, he/she will draw a picture of a gun or of a war tank", observed Mr. Majak.

He said this war culture is what journalists should try as much as possible to change. He further observed that the content of what is aired or published is as well important and must not exhibit acts of violence. He singled out T.V broadcasts which he said at times have adult programs which are not good for children. He stressed that the timing of such programs should be appropriate; perhaps late at night when the children are asleep. He added that children programmes should be aired earlier. "You cannot run children programs at 9pm and expect them to be awake to watch T.V", he said.

Mr. Majak underscored the role of the media in addressing issues pertaining to children and called on the media houses to give some of their space for articulating issues of child rights and protection. He added that this would educate the population who may not be aware of such rights.

Mr. Majak noted that both the private and government media have the responsibility of ensuring that children are protected and that their rights are observed. He lauded the support of UNICEF in building the capacity of journalists in South Sudan whom he said are the agents of change in the society. He called on all the journalists who were drawn from the four states of Jonglei, Eastern Equatoria, Central Equatoria and Western Equatoria to make use of the knowledge they have gained to adequately report issues of children in the country.

Ms Liz Grande said media across the world plays an important role in indentifying priorities of a given country. "If somebody came to Juba today, the first thing he/she will grab will be the local newspapers; whatever issues are reflected in the papers will give him/her the priorities of the country", she said.

She added that children in the new Republic of South Sudan need to be given more attention to address issues facing them. She noted that this is one of the reasons why UNICEF is engaged in supporting journalists around the country such that they can be able to bring to light the issues affecting children. She added that if the media is not well informed and not concerned of the problems of children, then it would mean that there is a big problem in the country.

She announced that similar training workshops will soon be organized in other states to journalists who were unable to benefit from the Juba training.

Source: Government of South Sudan (Juba, South Sudan)

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