Media should pay more attention to children

This year, 11 newspersons, including two from Prothom Alo got the Meena Media Award for upbringing child rights related informationProthom Alo

Media has a significant role in creating a habitable environment for the children. Therefore, the media needs to focus more on children and highlight children’s rights through news and photos.

Judges and speakers came up with these remarks at the 17th Meena Media Award ceremony organised by UNICEF at Hotel Sonargaon in the capital on Tuesday.

This time, 11 newspersons, including two from Prothom Alo got the Meena Media Award for highlighting child rights related information through print and electronic media and photography. Three of them got the award in the under-18 category.

In the inaugural speech, Sheldon Yett, UNICEF representative in Bangladesh, said, "UNICEF has been recognising child rights related journalism through the Meena Media Award since 2005. ‘Meena’ is a cartoon character of a litter who speaks about child rights and aware the adults about their duty towards the children. It is everyone’s responsibility to take a stand against violence against children."

Those who got the award

Emran Hasan Sohail (Kaler Kantha), Himu Chandra Shil (, Jesmin Akter Papri (News Bangla 24), Nawaz Farhin Antara (Dhaka Tribune) and Tanvirul Islam (Dhaka Post) have got the award in the print category.

Two from Prothom Alo got the award in photojournalism category. They are - Zahidul Karim and Sazid Hossain. Shahnaz Sharmin from Nagorik TV got the award in the video journalism category.

Those who got the award in the under-18 category are Mohammad Mosharaf Hossain (Jago News 24) in print category, Khalilur Rahman Tanvir (ATN Bangla) in the video journalism category and Dhee Arani Paul (Hello in the photojournalism category.

The special guests and members of the jury presented the crests, certificates and cheques to the winners. The prize money for each category was Tk 150,000.

‘Meena is raising awareness about child rights’

In the speech as the special guest, Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman said, “Meena is against all the bad things. Meena works against the events behind the bad things. The number of children in the country is 66 million. Of them, some 3.4 million are engaged in risky works and some 1.3 million of them are involved in highly risky works.”

UNICEF has been recognising child rights related journalism through the Meena Media Award since 2005
Prothom Alo

“The rate of child marriage has increased by some 10 per cent during the time of the coronavirus pandemic. There were around 1,000 reports on violence against children this year. Children-related news gets less space in the media due to the pressure of daily news and political news. The media should pay more attention to the children,” he added.

In a video message, Daily Star editor Mahfuz Anam said, “Meena award is creating awareness among the newspersons about child rights and journalism is benefitting from this. Now newspersons are getting more interested in reporting about child rights related issues.”

Novelist and president of Bangla Academy, Selina Hossain remarked that this award is a big initiative to increase attention to children and highlight children related issues.

Shameem Akhter, a lecturer at Pathshala Institute and a film director, was also present at the programme as a special guest.

Gitiara Nasreen, professor of the Department of Mass Communication & Journalism at Dhaka University and a member of the jury board, said, “Journalism plays a vital role in creating a livable world for the children as it finds new angles.”

Among the other jury members who addressed the programme are -- Shafiqul Alam, Bangladesh bureau chief of AFP, Ruma Paul, chief correspondent of Reuters and Abir Abdulla, a photographer of Alliance Francaise de Dhaka and trainer.