Pressure group vs kid ‘abuse’ by TV showsBy Marinel R. Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) recently announced its plan to create a “pressure group” tasked to protect children against all forms of abuse from television programs and advertisements.
To be called “Child Watch,” the group will be composed of parents, media members and consumers, said CWC director Brenda S. Vigo.
“[Child Watch] should be able to say which programs and commercials are bad for young audiences,” Vigo said. “It would advise parents and child viewers not to watch these shows and ads.”
As a result, TV producers should then realize that they, too, have a “social responsibility,” she added.
The council, in cooperation with the National Council for Children’s Television (NCCT), organized a “Dialogue with Media Practitioners” recently in celebration of National Children’s Month, which is observed in October. This year’s theme is “Bright child ay siguraduhin. Responsableng pamamahayag ay palaganapin.”
Child psychologist Lourdes A. Carandang said she would support the creation of Child Watch.
Dignity as guideline
“Respect the dignity of a child—this should be the guideline of every media practitioner,” she told the Inquirer shortly after the forum held at the La Breza Hotel in Quezon City. “It was good to know that a lot of people were committed to protecting the rights of our children.”
Carandang, also a NCCT council member, noted the good points raised by the forum participants. “They were courageous enough to say what they thought was wrong,” she said.
Also raised during the forum was the growing concern for shows that promote promiscuity among adolescents, reported Carandang.
She said the topic was brought up by a school owner who said that the increase in sexual activity and promiscuity among teenagers could be the result of watching such shows.
“We want to stress that the power of TV should not be underestimated,” said Carandang.
NCCT executive director Frank G. Rivera said that while the concerns raised during the forum were valid, “most of the suggestions on how to solve these problems were very idealistic, not so workable.”
Rivera was referring to the idea of a pressure group. Other agencies had tried this, he said, with less than great results.
“Let’s not consider anybody our enemy. Let’s not be combative,” he pointed out. “After all, we all have one objective, that is, to make this a better world.”
He added: “We make programs to entertain and educate our audience. Let’s work with that premise.” He said everyone concerned should try to come up with new ways to reach out to the media.
He observed that previous NCCT-led dialogues with media practitioners had been very effective. “We managed to encourage them to write about topics that would help educate kids,” he said. “You see, no artist would consciously create something bad.”
Another suggestion raised during the forum was to invite scriptwriters, as well as executive producers and “those who wield more power and influence in the creation of TV programs,” to attend future dialogues.
(E-mail the author: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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