30 March 2011

The Protection of Children on Reality TV shows by UNICEF

This statement is in response to the many enquiries we have received in relation to the six year old boy who was subjected to ridicule and humiliation on the primetime show ‘Willing Willie’ on TV5.

UNICEF fully supports the actions taken by the DSWD and Commission on Human Rights and other concerned groups to ensure the child’s right to protection from exploitation and abuse and to counsel the family involved in this incident.
UNICEF is also advocating for the media, particularly for the broadcast TV networks, to take a careful look at the values and behaviors that are being promoted in some of their programs.

Under Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, CRC, the most widely adopted human rights treaty in the world, it states that:
  • Children must be protected from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
  • The CRC also provides for prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.
In the Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) Broadcast Code of 2007, Article 11 on Children’s Programs and Welfare provides for:
  • The airing of programs that would help children to develop to their full physical and mental and social potential shall be encouraged.
  • Programs shall not depict inappropriate sexual subjects or violent actions
  • No material that are physically, mentally, morally and psychologically harmful to children shall be aired 
The power of television to influence and shape public attitude and opinion is incomparable. UNICEF is willing to work with concerned agencies and institutions to promote best practices on how children should be treated and depicted both as guests and actors in the media.

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