Guwahati: Speaker of the Assam Legislative Assembly Biswajit Daimary on Monday honoured nine Media Fellows from different newspapers and television channels in Assam for successfully reporting on children’s rights issues.
Among the fellowship holders, Pankaj Saikia from Pratidin Times was awarded the Media Award for in depth reporting on issues of violence against children.
The Media Fellows were also felicitated for completing the three-month-long fellowship by Biswajit Daimary, vice-chancellor of Cotton University Prof Ramesh Ch Deka, chairperson of Assam State Committee for Protection of Children (ASCPCR) Sunita Changkakati and Madhulika Jonathan, chief of field office, UNICEF Assam.
The fellowships were announced in August by UNICEF India and Cotton University with support from the Directorate of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) Assam.
Delivering the keynote address, Biswajit Daimary said the Assam Legislative assembly is going to discuss the issue of child protection as part of the “Speaker’s initiative”.
The Assam Legislative Assembly has released a fund of Rs 1 lakh to each of the 126 legislative constituencies to be spent for awareness on Children Rights issues.
Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Assam, Madhulika Jonathan while speaking on the importance of working with legislators, media and youth in safeguarding Children’s Rights congratulated the speaker of Assam Legislative Assembly for being a torchbearer for children and women’s rights in the Assam Assembly.
“It has been a privilege to partner and work with legislators towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, of which, children are at the core,” she said in her opening remarks.
The sensitization of MLAs has been initiated, Jonathan said, adding, “We saw questions raised by MLAs during the last Monsoon Session around trafficking of children, and it resulted with the chief minister promising a Domestic Labour Bill.”
Chairperson, ASCPCR Sunita Changkakati highlighted the efforts undertake under the Suraksha campaign for increasing public awareness and system strengthening on child protection issues.
“As children, many-a-times we are unaware of what to do if we become a victim of abuse. Even our parents forbid us to discuss it and sometimes blame us. But now, young people are more informed about their rights, and they can take the right decisions for themselves. With the media alongside, we can raise and highlight the issues faced by the children to hold duty bearers accountable,” Changkakati added.
Vice Chancellor of the Cotton University Ramesh Chandra Deka also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the need for ethical reporting on children’s issues and the need to mainstream their issues.
Regional Director of National Service Scheme, Deepak Kumar highlighted the engagement between the UNICEF and NSS in Assam on Child Protection.
“During the pandemic, young people were bound to use digital devices and the internet to pursue their education, which resulted in an increase of cases of bullying and abuse. With UReport for Suraksha Campaign, NSS volunteers were able to understand the redressal mechanisms to address these violations,” he said.