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Interfaith Council Moves to Address Media Ethics on Children at the UN

There is urgent need for concerted efforts to address negative influences the media have on children

There is urgent need for concerted efforts to address negative influences the media have on children and to work with various stakeholders to ensure a more ethical and children-friendly media content and environment. These concerns were raised by participants accredited by the Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children during a two week Preparatory Committee meeting of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva in September. Joining more than 130 national delegations and 150 other stakeholders comprising international organisations, NGOs and business entities, four participants sent by the Arigatou Foundation Office in Geneva voiced concerns on the lack of ethics and code of ethics; or disregard of ethics or code of ethics by media and communication institutions, and the increasing digital divide between the south and the north.

Keen to address media influence on ethics education, four representatives from the Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children participated in the WSIS 3rd Preparatory Committee Meeting. The Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children Secretary General, Agneta Ucko , Arigatou Foundation Executive Secretary Djénane Tosbath, Committee Member, Sunil Wijesiriwardhana and Programme Secretary, Mustafa Ali attended the meeting on various dates on behalf of the Council. Sessions attended included Internet Governance, Media Reforms, Education and Research and Communication Rights. 

The WSIS PrepCom-3 which took place at Geneva’s Palais des Nations from 19th – 30th September 2005 called on government delegations, representatives from the civil society and others to do more to address issues on Internet Governance, its transformation from academic research network into mainstream communications platform and a key strategic resource in all spheres of life.

Efforts are now being made to put the Plan of Action into motion and working groups are being set up to find solutions and reach agreements in the fields of Internet governance and financing mechanisms before the Tunisia Summit begins. Other issues being worked on are the measures to bridge the digital divide and timely achievement of the Millennium Development Goals through the use of new information and communication technologies. The second phase of the summit will take place from 16th – 18th November 2005 in Tunis, Tunisia.