2006

Media Capacity Building Initiative- Child Portraits –Uncovered

With the development of information society the media plays constantly increasing role in the lives of children. For this very reason the UN Convention on the Rights of Child contains many messages to media practitioners that call not just to ‘include’ children issues in the media products and treat them as apprentices to adult society, but to put them at the heart of the human rights agenda.
Perceiving itself as an intermediary between public and media, APRA feels necessity to assist in establishment of professional codes of conduct and promote good practice in the field of information to prevent misuse and misinterpretation of information that could have had hazardous consequences for those who are often helpless to defend themselves, especially children.
In the year 2006 United Nations Children Fund supported Armenian Public Relations Association for the implementation of “Child Portraits Uncovered” project aimed at raising media awareness to sensitize TV journalists and reporters to the need for good quality television and press coverage of needs of children in Armenia. The program has been initiated as a follow up to 2005's media monitoring and subsequent discussions with journalists and heads of media outlets, focused on increasing quality and trustworthiness of social journalism in Armenia. Among other things, the necessity to adapt the Ethics Code for journalists reporting on child related issues was emphasized.
In order to familiarize and to bring the Armenian journalists close to the problems of children with special needs, children at risk and other socially vulnerable groups of kids and adolescents, APRA organized 5 press tours to various regions of Armenia. The first group of media representatives moved to Gyumri and Vanadzor in June 2006. The tours lasted until end of December 2006.
In the course of the project participants from various TV Companies, news agencies and newspapers, visited North and South of Armenia, including Meghri, Kapan, Dilijan, Berd ad Ijevan. Press tour teams accompanied by UNICEF and APRA representatives visited Community-Based NGO Centers, orphanages, vocational and special schools, Child disability centers, regional officials and policy makers.
Reporters made several shootings on the different issues related to child protection, educational reform and its implications to the educational process, integration of disabled children into society and parents attitude toward their disabled child. Special importance was given to the issue of Children and AIDS. Press Tour participants met with the representatives of local NGOs dealing with the prevention of AIDS among the sexual minority groups, carrying out activities aimed at physiological and social rehabilitation of AIDS infected persons.
The project’s closing event gathered all the press tour participants, journalists, APRA staff and UNICEF representatives. At the workshop, participants suggested to elaborate project further, providing journalists with the opportunity to learn more about child –coverage specifics, obtain additional themes to write about through study tours and resource center development.

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