Children death toll in the media

By Iram Zahra

BEIJING—(October 21, 2010—M4relay)– Over 22,000 children die every day in the world according to a UNICEF report. This means every four seconds one child is dies and in every minute 15 children die.

The statistics presented by UNICEF, further show that every year 8.1 million children die and 88 million children died, between 2000 to 2009.

The possible silent killers are considered to be poverty, hunger, easily preventable diseases and illnesses, and other related causes. Despite the scale of this daily ongoing onslaught, a rare, talk less of a sustained, prime-time, headline coverage of these issues is provided by the media.

It might be reasonable to expect that death and tragedy on this scale should be prime time headline news. Yet, these issues only surface when there are global meetings or concerts such as the various G8 summits, the Make Poverty History campaign in 2005, and others.

Good media coverage plays a crucial role in alerting governments and the public to the gravity of the problem. This can incite governments and individuals around the world to formulate, implement and evaluate policies and reforms that could mobilizing resources for a sustainable fight against the rising death toll of children around the globe.

Instead, “empty” promises and pledges from the wealthy and powerful countries, make the headlines while nothing is usually reported on the repeated broken promises, from these big and rich nations to the poorer ones.

Poverty reduction and improved standard of living are ways to protect children around the world. The mainstream media need to include such issues on their agenda and inform the public in a sustainable manner. Wealthy countries could be encouraged to be more active in this struggle against child and infant mortality.

UNICEF should think over this issue very seriously as well as the mainstream media. There are reports telling stories about a better future for children but there is a need for mainstream media to do a more thorough and complete coverage on the sufferings of children around the globe.

Some people may fear there could be stress caused by media reports on dying children, but the media need to takes their responsibilities – that of informing the public on key issues – and dying children are key issues in society. Media outlets may face pressures from advertisers with regards to content, but at the same time, the media should not forget their responsibilities. The mass media play a very important role in creating awareness on issues of prime importance. By creating a sustained awareness on the mortality rate of children and suggesting ways of reducing the death toll of children in the world, the media would have taken one of its key responsibilities – educating the public.

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