Sikkim team attends workshop on child rights for journalists


Summit Report

GANGTOK, 30 Mar:

A regional-level Orientation Workshop of North Eastern States on Child Rights for Media Personnel was held at Shillong, Meghalaya on Tuesday bringing journalists from different parts of the region on a single platform to discuss the role of media for the protection of child rights.

The day-long workshop was organized by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights [NCPCR] in collaboration with Meghalaya State Commission for Protection of Child Rights [MSCPCR]. The workshop, which was facilitated by Seva Bharati Purbanchal [SBP], was attended by journalists from Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Sikkim and host state, Meghalaya.

Five journalists from Sikkim; Dichen Ongmu, Sherap Palden, Pranesh Tamang, Durga Sharma and Sagar Chhetri attended the workshop.

In her inaugural address, Chairperson MSCPCR, Iamon M Syiem asserted that media can play an important role to protect the rights of children having no voice and being abused and exploited. While stressing upon the Right to Identity of children, she expressed that children hesitate and are scared to talk about the exploitation they face and even of the incidents faced in the past as they not only suffer physically but mentally and emotionally as well. On the same, she stated that in such situations the media can make a difference for their healing and motivation with responsible and sensible reporting.

The Chairperson urged the media to play a responsible role to ensure the rights of every child and to help the children in distress. She added that writing with the right intention, passion and compassion can make big changes to protect the rights of children.

NCPCR Senior Technical Expert [North East Cell], Paresh Shah mentioned that NCPCR was a statutory body under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 and has been working to ensure, preserve and protect all laws, policies, programmes and administrative mechanisms related to child rights. He added that the Centre is making all efforts to create an inclusive environment for children and to reach out to every child to ensure their rights.

In the technical session, Mr Shah spoke about how media reports have been helping the commission to intervene and rescue children from exploitation. He stated that media reports had helped the commission to take suo-motu cognizance of violation of child rights and activate the concerned authorities. He also said that the media can play an important role in highlighting the gaps in measures taken for prevention of crime against children.

NCPCR Senior Technical Expert explained different sections of the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Model Rules, 2016, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, the Child & Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 and other laws related to children.

While mentioning that the NCPCR has prepared a handbook, Understanding Child Rights, for media personnel, he said that the knowledge on different sections of laws and acts would help in effective reporting on child rights.

Mr Shah gave a case study on media reporting of Baby Falak and also spoke about the media’s role in promoting child rights.

DCPO Social Welfare Department, Meghalaya, ML Warjri gave an overview of the POCSO Act and explained the consequences of child sexual abuse. Seva Bharati Purbanchal president, Raman Sharma also spoke about the media’s role in creating awareness on child rights.

The day-long workshop also witnessed an open house discussion where the participants placed their queries and issues faced while reporting on child rights issues, which were responded to by Chairperson MSCPCR, Iamon M Syiem and NCPCR Senior Technical Expert [North East Cell], Paresh Shah.