UNICEF Dialogues with Online Publishers

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Sarah Ochekpe

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The United Nations Children’s Fund is dialoguing with online publishers on the ways to protect the rights of the child and mainstream children’s issues into their various platforms

By Maureen Chigbo  |  Mar. 30, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT  |

The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, is sensitising online publishers on the need to use their platforms to advocate for the rights of the child.  On Thursday, March 20, the UNICEF   held a two-day media dialogue in Enugu, Enugu state, the publishers to discuss the convention on child rights, which came into force through the UN General Assembly’s resolution 44/20 of 20 November, 1989. About 193 countries are signatories to the the Child Rights Act including Nigeria, where 26 out of 36 states have adopted it and enacted laws on the rights of the child.

The objectives of the dialogue include establishing partnership with the online media as an advocacy group on the rights of a child and developing story angles on issues affecting children among others. The dialogue, which began March 20 was put together by the child rights information bureau, RIB,) of the federal ministry of information, collaborating with UNICEF Fifteen 15 selected publishers of Online newspapers from different parts of the country and representatives of major conventional newspapers based in Enugu, as well as some university lecturers attended the workshop.

Geoffrey Njoku, UNICEF communication specialist, started the discussion by making a presentation on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child, which he said, countries of the world signed except the United States of America and Somalia. There are four key principles of the Child Rights Convention, including non-discrimination, best interest of the child, life survival and development as well as respecting the views of the child. The provisions, which are universal, indivisible and accountability, are inter-dependent and inter-related. Nigeria domesticated the convention in 2003.

Other speakers at the dialogue include Chikwendu Ogbonnaya, a public policy advocate, Akin Jimoh, former journalists now with UNICEF Nigeria, Abigail Ogwezzy of the University of Lagos.

Ogbonnaya gave a lecture on social responsibility and public interest in online journalism practice; defining a public policy for online journalism.  Also, Ogwezzy spoke on the perspectives of children’s rights in current online journalism practice in Nigeria while Jimoh delivered a lecture on children’s right and online journalism practice in Nigeria: setting an agenda for children. He submitted that the essence the exercise is that online publishers should give priority to the Nigerian Child and how to make their life better. The publishers looked how to collectively scope online opportunities for child rights advocacy and presented group work.

The UNICEF Convention describes a child as every human being below the age of eighteen years, unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier even as it ask the stakeholders to respect the rights set forth in the convention  This rights, the convention insists, should be conferred in each child without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardians race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other statues. The Convention urges states to take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child’s parents, legal guardians, or family members.

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