Africa Charter on Children's Broadcasting
The first All Africa Summit on Children's Broadcasting was held in Accra, Ghana, October 8-12, 1997. The most important thing that came out of the Summit was an Africa Charter on Children's Broadcasting adopted by the delegates on October 11, 1997. The Charter - an amendment of the SADC Children's Broadcasting Charter (June 1996) - is in keeping with the international Children's Television Charter (May 1995) but expands on the issues relevant to the African continent, and includes radio as well. In particular, greater emphasis is placed on the educational and developmental needs of African children and protection from all forms of commercial exploitation.
The Africa Charter on Children's Broadcasting was ratified at the general assembly of URTNA (Union of National Radio and Television Organizations of Africa) on June 21-22, 2000, in Algiers. Slight changes (in italics below) to the original Charter are per the African process that URTNA engaged in. This process asked all African broadcasters to make necessary amendments. The final Charter was then completed according to these recommendations and adopted by the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) on October 13, 2000, at its 23rd general conference in Cape Town, South Africa.
We, Commonwealth Broadcasters gathered under the umbrella of the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) in Cape Town, South Africa on this 13-day of October 2000, on the occasion of the XX111 General Conference Commonwealth Broadcasting Association
Taking into account that the International Children's Television Charter was adopted in Munich, Germany, on the 29th of May 1995, and has been internationally accepted;
Conscious of the fact that the Charter needs to be complemented by a specific Charter that takes Africa's interests and peculiarities into account;
Aware that delegates to the Africa Summit on Children's Broadcasting Meeting in Accra, Ghana, 8-12 October, 1997, affirmed and accepted this position ;
Satisfied that some CBA member organizations have made necessary inputs to the proposed Charter at its draft stage and are ready to defend it at all times, hereby ratify the Africa Charter on Children's Broadcasting whose stipulations are as follows:
Children should have programmes of high quality, made specifically for them and which do not exploit them at any stage of the production process. Children should be allowed to have a say in the initial stages of production of the programmes being produced for them. These programmes, in addition to being entertaining, should allow children to develop physically, mentally and socially to their fullest potential.
Whilst recognizing that children's broadcasting will be funded through various mechanisms including advertising, sponsorship and merchandising, children should be protected from commercial exploitation. Whenever children participate as artistes, they should be appropriately remunerated, and in a manner so as not to distract them from their learning process or from the development of their chosen careers.
Whilst endorsing the child's right to freedom of expression, thought, conscience and religion, and protection against economic exploitation, children must be ensured equitable access to programmes, and, as much as possible, to the production of programmes.
Children should hear, see and express themselves, their culture, their language and their life experiences, through the electronic media which affirm their sense of self, community and place.
Children's programmes should create opportunities for learning and empowerment to promote and support the child's right to education and development. Children's programmes should promote an awareness and appreciation of other cultures in parallel with the child's own cultural background. To facilitate this, there should be ongoing research into the child's audience, needs and wants.
Children's programmes should be wide ranging in genre and content, but should not include gratuitous scenes, and sounds of violence and sex through any audio or visual medium. The programmes should not contain elements or scenes that condone or encourage drug abuse.
Children's programmes should be aired in regular time slots at times when children are available to listen and view, and/or be distributed via other widely accessible media or technologies.
Sufficient resources, technical, financial and other, must be made available to make these programmes to the highest possible standards, and in order to achieve quality, setting codes and standards for children's broadcasting must be formulated and developed through a diverse range of groupings.
In compliance with the UN policy of co-operation between states in the international community, the Africa Charter on Children's Broadcasting recognizes all international covenants, conventions, treaties, charters and agreements adopted by all international organizations including the OAU and the UN affecting children, but with particular reference to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Commonwealth Broadcasting association (CBA) undertakes to promote the ideals embodied in the spirit of the Charter by encouraging CBA broadcasters to implement every aspect of it.
13 October 2000
Cape Town, South Africa