In many homes, children are not allowed to watch news because their parents believe that newscasts on TV might be to traumatic or violent. So how can children find out about national and world affairs? In Burma, Zambia, Surinam, South Africa, Peru, Indonesia, the Dutch Caribbean and Mozambique, children now have the opportunity to watch TV news magazines that are specifically geared towards them, also giving them a space to voice their opinions and find out about current events.
All of these newscasts are coordinated and supported during their first two years by Freevoice from the Netherlands, they are aired on national television networks in their countries, and many of the projects are also turning to the internet as a better mean of getting children's feedback and including more of them in the process of suggesting topics and approaches to news.
In Peru, we have NAPATV, where the letters NAPA stand for the phrase in Spanish that means not for adult consumption (No Apto para Adultos). Through the website youth can see the different videos, comment on them, leave a message on the chat board and participate on online polls. They also have a Facebook page, twitter and YouTube accounts. On this daily 30 minute show kids ask the president questions, tell the world what they would like to be when they grow up, discuss current events, and also say in front of the cameras what they dislike. For example [es]: Kevin, age 15, tells NAPA that he dislikes it when neighborhood security guards tell them they can't skateboard on the streets with his friends because they will “damage the pavement and plants”.
Following is a short news review section where subjects such as permits for school buses and transport, mining companies and environment and school children with high levels of lead in their blood are discussed [es]:
The Caribbean Kids Network also publishes the videos on their website, and the subtitled newscasts are both in English and in Papiamento. There are 5 journalists assigned to the different islands and they produce together the weekly show. Following is the latest episode [en, pap], where they follow a protest on the construction of a hotel in Aruba; talk about counterfeit goods, why they are illegal and how to recognize them, and also other topics such as green energy and music.
Press freedom does not exist in Burma; the military regime detains critics on a regular basis and the state television only provides positive news of the generals. To produce an uncensored kids news with real news, the DVB team works from Thailand and receives its images from Burma through a secret network of camjo's (camera journalists). For the safety and protection of the journalists and the children being interviewed, the children wear (animal)masks in front of the camera, so they cannot be recognized, subsequently, they can give their real and honest opinions.
On the sample newscast made for YouthVoices you can see the masks being used. In the latest ones [mya], though, masks are no longer used, but some of those who are interviewed do have their faces digitally blurred.
You can read more about the Kids News Network and their projects in other countries at Freevoice.nl.