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UNICEF Launches Handbook To Help Media Coverage Of Children’s Issues

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GUWAHATI, April 21 (PTI): A Media Handbook, which looks into various policies, schemes and guidelines available for the protection of children while also focusing on how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted violence against them, was launched as part of UNICEF’s Suraksha campaign here on Thursday.

The Handbook is expected to help journalists in coverage of issues relating to children in print, broadcast and digital media, a release said.

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Releasing the Handbook, Assam Information and Public Relations minister Pijush Hazarika said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has affected lives of children – violence against them in different forms, malnutrition resulting from severe economic hardship in families and inequality in receiving education have hindered their growth and development – leading to severe long-term consequences in their future.

“It is essential to address these issues so that every child is able to prosper in a safe and secure environment, and we do not lose out on the progress that we have made in securing the rights of our children before the pandemic,” Hazarika added.

Speaking about the Handbook, UNICEF Assam’s chief of Field Office Madhulika Jonathan said, “The handbook has been designed to provide information and government data concerning the issue. It also looks into the various policies, schemes and guidelines available for the protection of children, while also focusing on how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the incidences of violence against children.”

Given the sensitive nature when it comes to reporting on children’s issues, the Handbook is expected to help all journalists to examine how their issues can be covered, prioritising the needs of our children in print and broadcast and digital media, she added.

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Bishnu Kamal Borah, director, Information and Public Relations, in his speech, highlighted the role of media as an important stakeholder in safeguarding and promoting the rights of children.

He said, “Media can help build and shape attitudes and opinions, while raising awareness on issues of social importance; while also providing a suitable platform to children to share their voices on matters that affect them.

“However, reporting on the protection rights of children is a sensitive task – which requires an informed, sensitive and ethical body of reporters in the state,” Borah added.

The launch also marked the start of media workshops that will be organized jointly by UNICEF, Directorate of Information and Public Relations of Assam government and Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR) in 10 districts, the release said.

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The state-wide campaign called Suraksha, which was launched in 2020 with the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR), is an attempt to make people aware about child protection issues such as violence, abuse, exploitation, discrimination, neglect, emotional and mental health issues that children face among others.



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