Rio boosts children’s role in the media

6 May 2004 – Two thousand delegates from the world’s broadcasting industry sat down with 150 youth delegates in Rio de Janeiro last month (19-23 April) to discuss issues of common concern. This was the 4th World Summit on Media for Children & Adolescents, and the most ambitious yet.

The PressWise Trust was not at the Summit but the role we are proud to have played in the global movement to improve the relationship between the media and children was acknowledged. Over the last 6 years we have been running training programmes on the topic with UNICEF and the International Federation of Journalists in over 20 countries, some sponsored by the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

We contributed to the Children’s & Youth Radio Manifesto presented to the Rio Summit by youth delegates from South Africa, West Africa, India and the Ukraine. <>  It explains that children value radio as the lowest-cost mass medium with the furthest outreach, able to deliver information and entertainment through local languages, and to bridge the communication gap between rich and poor. And they recognize how its potential is enhanced when linked to the Internet.

Set in motion by young broadcasters at Bush Radio in Cape Town, South Africa, the Manifesto has been developed through a 3-year World Radio Forum consultation among children aged 8-18 in the poorer parts of the world, guided by children’s radio producer Sarah McNeill who has worked for us.

Ironically just days before the Summit, Bush Radio station Director Zane Ibrahim was bundled off a plane in Washington by US security agents, strip-searched and interrogated for 12 hours because of the ‘Bush Against the War’ campaign run by his young broadcasters.

The PressWise Trust contributed to the 1999 Oslo Challenge, and devised much of the content of the MAGIC website referred to by UNICEF Director Carol Bellamy in her opening address to the Summit.

Later this month we shall be represented at a special conference in Alexandria, Egypt, run by the Swedish Institute for the Further Education of Journalists. <> It will bring together Arab and European journalists to consider ways of improving coverage of children and their participation in media.

And this summer we shall publish a new edition of our handbook for media professional Media and Children’s Rights first produced for UNICEF in 1999. It will include the achievements of the Rio Summit.

1.    For more information about the 4th World Summit on Media for Children see

2.    Among the spin offs from Rio was the launch of an expanded Voices of Youth website run by UNICEF ( to encourage young people from around the world to share their thoughts (in English, French and Spanish) about children’s rights and other issues that concern them.

3.    The 5th World Summit on Media for Children & Adolescents is to be hosted by the Children and Broadcasting Foundation for Africa, and will take place in South Africa in 2007. CBFA chair Firdoze Bulbulia is keen to hear from any one wanting to help ‘forge a better media environment for ALL our children’.

Mike Jempson
Director, MediaWise

(Bulletin No 101)

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