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ABUGA 2014: ABU praises winner of Child Rights Award

The Secretary-General of the ABU has praised the winner of this year’s Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award for Television as “great documentary-making”.

Dr Javad Mottaghi said the winning entry, ‘Front Row: Orphaned’ by GMA Network of the Philippines, “shows how great documentary-making not only exposes inequality and exploitation but journeys deeper into the human spirit and reminds us that each human being, however young, poor and disadvantaged, carries the light of hope in their soul”.

The award was established by the ABU, UNICEF and the CASBAA media association in 2001 and this year’s prize was presented during the ABU’s General Assembly in Macau, China. The award recognises the efforts of broadcasters and producers in pursuing high quality children’s television and better coverage of children’s issues in the Asia-Pacific region.

The winning doco highlighted the plight of vulnerable children in the Philippines, where some 1.8 million children are abandoned or neglected, by focusing on the daily life of 10-year-old Princess, who has had to take care of three younger siblings since their mother abandoned them. Princess works at a wet market as a produce washer. She receives five to 20 pesos (0.1 to 0.5 US cents) for her work. After working for the entire morning, Princess then proceeds to her second job, gathering and selling her neighbour’s rubbish. She has to do this every day to feed herself and her siblings.

Dr Mottaghi added: “To know there are documentary makers of this quality working in our region, chronicling the lives of our most vulnerable children and celebrating the triumph of their young spirits over great adversity, must spur us all on to be the best media messengers we possibly can.”

Christopher de Bono, Chief of Communications at UNICEF East Asia and the Pacific, called ‘Front Row: Orphaned’ a powerful piece of television.

“It shows the importance of protecting and nurturing children, and the strength and resilience they possess, through the eyes of four abandoned children trying desperately to make the most of their lives,” he said. “It is also a testimony to the value of powerful television storytelling, by motivating all of us to meet our responsibilities and address the suffering of children in need.”

Christopher Slaughter, CEO of CASBAA, said: “Our industry reaches hundreds of millions of people around the world daily. It is heartening to see our medium being used as a platform not just for entertainment, but in the service of such a worthy cause as alleviating the plight of children in need.” 

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