A joint session with environment, child protection, migrant and higher education
Today we're meeting in joint discussion with the child-protection and the education groups. The first thing we've done is summarize the three major "block" areas the Mass Media and Access to Information group came up with yesterday:
Here are some comments by our visiting colleagues form the migrant, child protection, environment and higher-education groups.
Chris Newlin talks about the opportunity to discuss how child-protection issues are covered by the media. "The media has a great opportunity to help educate the broader society on these child-protection issues." "We had a high-profile case where a lack of people to be willing to report abuse lead to damange to children."
Randi: Also talked about not just using technology available at universities, but to recruit people within universities to work in child protection. It's an area that has few males involved and an idea was to work on redressing that. Also, in much child-specific advocacy takes place via the media -- even trying to protect privacy issues.
I came heere from the migration group, I am a jouranlist and editor of a magazine, Migration 21st Century. Today in Russia there is an acute situation in terms of media coverage of migrant issues. IN Tajikistan two Russian pilots were accused of smuggling, one was a citizen of Estonia, our president said we will respond with assymetrical answers. Now there is mass deportation of Tajik migrants underway. We have a lot of migrants, about 10 million, and two-thirds of them are illegal. The authorities are especially looking for Tajiks and the export illegal migrants. "This is the beginning of a campaign that can grow into something really awful."
Mass-media participates actively. Our group thought from our conference, it would be good to make some announcements or request to head off "quite awful processes that could develop in Russia." There is a U.S. organization called the Voice of America -- not VOA the government news agency, but a different organization with a similar name which cover issues of xenophobia.
My questions: Are you worried about this subject? Our group is very small but if we decided to make some announcements, could your group help us.
From a member of the child-protection group:
Unfortunately xenophobia is an (unfortunate) tradition in our society. The speakers works in the sociology department at North Caucasian University. There are overlapping points among our groups. There are important issues here -- the participation of youth in volunteer media projects -- allowing them to speak out. We have a problem -- we have a need to hear the voice of children and youth. Could we find some special forums? These kids may say some unpleasant things; but we need to hear it.
Viktor Yukechev: If we are not careful, we can all be dragged into this ugly discussion and situation. There is no understanding in the consciousness of the society. We as citizens must know everything. You can act as experts with your comments and get them out there and it will be easier for the media to find you for reporting.
Young people cannot understand the situation very well. We can't always understand the teen-age view. We can encourage their life on the Internet, social networks, bloggosphere and help them to communicate -- invite some topics for them.
Today in Russia there is a discussion of "juvenile technologies." There is no understanding what is real juvenile justice and what are juvenile social services. Today it is not a child responsible for what he or she is doing. Today it is society responsible for his wrongdoings. We need to focus on rehabilitation not punishment.
Olga Moshkova talking about the higher education group:
She talks about overlaps between child protection and environment and media. Content depends upon engagement and where the project comes form. It will be a valuable thing to overlap child protection with higher educcation. We need to involve unversity students and professors. Lawyers, professors, teachers would be interested. We need tools to translate this expertise to universities -- that would be an ideal result of today's discussion.
Vs. media -- the overlap with journalism faculties and media communications and economics -- there are lots of projects being implemented. The universities can serve as a platform for open dialog.
We have discussed intellectual property protection. We could work together on that topic, relaying it to higher-education institutes. A point of overlap.
Anatoly Lebedev, Primorsky region
He is from the environment working group.
They have collaborations with Washington and Oregon states and lots of environmental contacts. Media aspects of environment are important. There are legal issues and resource issues.
The role of media in analyzing environmental problems is important. We publish our own journal and have a group wich covers various aspects of resources. The document their opposition to industrial projects.
"Our dream" is to publish a journal in both English and Russian that would go to public officials and students. Public officials don't have time to look up websites, go to Twitter or blogs. When the written journal comes to them, they will read it each time, every time. They would like to read by Russians, Americans and an English-speaking audience.
Anna: A few additional words from the media group. She is emphasizing a poin made by Viktor. We realze that for thos organizations of higher education, environment and child protection -- we need to seek advice from them.
Reporters want to reach out to experts. They otherwise can't cover issues that deeply and they are vulnerable to sensationalism. She would like to organize conferences on covering child-protection issues. one initiative underway -- a conference on child safety on the Internet -- what can parents do. We need experts for this.
Viktor: We are dreaming now of creation of a resource center, a U.S. Russian Media Collaboration center.
Howard Finberg: All the issues -- environment, child protection, migration -- all need good journalism because good journalism tells the story. That's the message I heard over and over this morning -- there needs to be a way of telling the story of what's going on. We need to strengthen the ability of people who are telling the story. If we don't strengthen the journalism we will have a weakened civil society. That's a passion of our group. The stories you have told help support that cooperation because we can help tell those stories.