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Summit calls for universal charter on media content for children

Experts in children’s media from around the world, meeting in Malaysia, have issued a Declaration calling for a universal charter of guiding principles for making content for children.

The Declaration on Empowering Children in 21st Century was agreed by acclamation on 10 September, the final day of the 2014 World Summit on Media for Children in Kuala Lumpur, co-organised by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union and the WSMC Foundation. 

The Declaration notes the urgency of improving media for children in an era of rapidly changing digital technologies, the Internet and social media, in a world where there is a widening gap between children who have access and those who do not.

It states: “It will be essential to establish a dynamic international movement for improvement of content of children’s programming in radio, TV, new media and the print media.

“There is a clear need for providing guidance for the media on desirable ethical and cultural standards, [so] the media should be invited to agree on a charter of guiding principles to be employed in developing children’s media.” 

The guiding principles are that content should be quality-driven, engaging, accessible, broad, diverse, non-exploiting, well-funded, culturally appropriate and properly regulated.

YBhg Dato’ Norhyati Ismail, Director-General of the summit’s host broadcaster Radio Televisyen Malaysia, called on media everywhere to be a vibrant creative industry provider for the young children of the digital age, while ABU Acting President YBrs Dr Ahmad Jailani Muhamed Yunus, said the Union would do its utmost to ensure the noble objectives of the 7th WSMC Kuala Lumpur Declaration could be achieved.

The conference was officially launched on 8 September 2014 by the Summit Patron and wife of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, YBhg. Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor, with a keynote address by WSMC Founder and Chairperson Dr Patricia Edgar, who said young people themselves were reshaping the media landscape.

ABU Secretary-General Dr Javad Mottaghi said the Union was proud to be part of creating a brighter, more vigorous future for children’s programming. In formally asking delegates to pass the declaration, Ms Olya Booyar of the ABU said the universal declaration would be “a living document that will stand as a reflection of the values and intentions of this summit”.

Almost 1,000 producers, broadcasters, media regulators, educators and community leaders from around the world gathered at the Royale Chulan Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, committed to the improvement of quality media for children.

A full copy of the finalised Declaration will be available at the WSMC Website.