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WSMC2014: Media told that children are now in charge

Broadcasters have been put on notice they may no longer be in charge of what children watch, read or hear in the media.

In her opening address to the 7th World Summit on Media for Children being held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the movement’s founder Patricia Edgar, said that control had shifted from traditional broadcasters and producers to new global players and young people themselves who, enabled by technology, were reshaping the media landscape.

“They know what they want, how they will engage with content, and they know where they can get it,” she told the almost 1,000 world experts gathered for the first WSMC ever to be held in Asia. The three-day summit and workshops from 8-10 September 2014 is co-organised by the ABU and the WSMC Foundation and hosted by Radio Television Malaysia.

The challenge facing the media was not such a bad thing if they reflected long and hard about the exciting opportunities offered, Ms Edgar went on. 

“Digital technology allows for fresh ideas, new collaborations and new economic models to be tried and explored.  It allows for merit to win through. Never before has content and creativity had the potential to free itself from entrenched broadcasting and producer interests.”

Ms Edgar said that learning – long overlooked by broadcasters – had been the poor relation of entertainment, though the creative and innovative use of media in education could transform teaching into a 21st Century model of learning. 

“This is just as challenging to schools as it is to the media industry,” Ms Edgar continued. “Progress here is of fundamental importance for children across the globe, particularly in the developing world where 75 million children are not in school.” 

Ms Edgar paid tribute to the teams from the ABU and RTM who had worked deliver WSMC 2014, now in its 20th year.