By Innocent Anguyo
At least 150 experts and media practitioners from across the world are in Uganda to discuss media content for children.
The issue of media programming for children is the focus of this year’s edition of the media convention.
The right of children to the media, media programming to meet children’s taste, creation of synergies between media and child rights institutions, and assessment of media performance pertaining to content for children are the objectives of the convention.
The convention is organized by Makerere University Department of Mass Communication, in collaboration with German institutions, GIZ and Deutsche Welle Akademie.
This year’s event is organized under the theme, “Media for Children and Youth.” The two-day event brings together participants from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia and Germany.
Scheduled for Thursday, at Fairway Hotel in Kampala, participants include journalists, other media practitioners, policy makers, academicians, the civil society, children and youth among others.
Aaron Mushengyezi, the Head of Makerere Journalism Department said the children were often neglected in media programming.
The concept note for the event observes that children, just like adults, have basic human rights, including access to information and the media. It is nevertheless stated that, there is little focus on assessing the relevant content for children.
“As such, it is vital that issues of children are considered critically with regard to content that impacts on their intellectual, social and physical well-being,” reads the concept note.
According to the 2012 State of Uganda Population Report, the country has the world’s youngest population, with over 78% of the people below the age of 30 years and more than 52% aged below 15 years.
“Children and youth constitute the biggest percentage of Uganda’s population. The media content they consume has an influence not only on them but to the kind of citizenry that this country will have in the future,” reiterates the concept note.
It further observes that media remains the main source of information for children and youth, and that it is vital to consider the kind and quantity of material that this vulnerable section of the public consumes.