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Seminar of Shishu Prokash
Speakers debate on the role of teen reporters

Speakers at a seminar of Shishu Prokash on December 30, 2005 debated on whether children should be allowed to do journalistic or media-related jobs as they can face unusual risks owing to their tender age. The seminar was organised by Mass-line Media Centre (MMC) at CIRDAP auditorium.

Shishu Prokash is a news media by teen reporters working on child related news stories. Its activities are directed and observed by MMC with the help of Unicef. The discussion topic of the seminar was based on the role of juvenile journalists in preserving children's rights.

Chief Guest of the seminar Rahat Khan, editor of The Daily Ittefaq, spoke for the activities of teen journalists while Manjurul Ahsan Bulbul, executive editor of The Daily Shangbad, spoke against it as this job would be fraught with risks which might be unsuitable for children.

Some speakers sided with Bulbul while many others sided with Khan and everyone enjoyed a vibrant debate presented with strong logic. Qamrul Hasan Manju, executive director of MMC, played the role of a moderator. In reply to a question of job related risks for the teens Bulbul said the main question is whether we need teen reporters at all.

He said, “It is not necessary that we need children to cover child related news stories. It is not the age for them to decide their career and they are far from being professional as there are things like basic grammar, media ethics, news sense, writing skills etc. which are not easy to acclimatise.”

The days of self-educated journalists are decreasing as the job is becoming more professional-based and techno-centric, he added. He encouraged them to keep up with their school and give it the first priority and urged not to get addicted to see their names in printed letters.

He suggested that instead of making teen reporters we can develop a media sensitised society like Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka a research is going on how to make a media sensitised society by incorporating media studies in school syllabus.

About professional risks he said, there are two types of risks in journalismthreats and baits. A good journo has to work evading both. The whole country is in risk right now so reporters have to work within it. There remains zero tolerance in the higher level of the government and no justice is carried out for killing a reporter. Journalists are being called uneducated persons and enemies of the country by honourable ministers, he added.

In reply to a question expressing concern about the children's pages in mainstream newspapers the children's page-in-charge of The Daily Ittefaq said, the new dailies are not interested in children's page owing to the indifference of the authority. But traditional dailies like Ittefaq and Shangbad are still maintaining children's corner mainly due to their links with the mainstream children organisations like Khelaghar and Kendriyo Kochi Kachar Ashor.

One participant from Bangladesh Today said, keeping child reporters for covering child related events is quite unrealistic. But Rahat Khan, Taleya Rahman (Democracy Watch) and many others supported the idea of teen journalism. They argued that it is not important for them to work as regular reporters. But this job will help them learn discipline and responsibility. They are not real reporters but there is no problem if they pretend to be one as everyone wants to grow up when in his adolescence.

Other speakers said, publishing news of a child reporter is empowering him and the main aim of Shishu Prokash is to monitor the media and work for the mental build-up for children. There are many news items which were first covered by teen reporters and then published in local dailies.

Among other participants were Dr. Arefin Siddique and Dr. Golam Rahman, professors, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Dhaka University; Alamgir Mahiuddin, editor, Noya Digonto and Qazi Nabiul Haque from Plant International Bangladesh.

Shishu Prokash at a glance
Shishu Prokash started its journey officially on May 30, 2005 with the slogan 'Let children speak' to increase the flow of information related to children's rights. Sixty four professional reporters are working with this organisation decentralised in 64 districts. Ten child reporters work under a professional in each district. From all the districts it has prepared 287 in-depth articles based on children's rights to date. Around 646 teen reporters were elected countrywide in the last eight months to work with Shishu Prokash.

By Durdana Ghias

Teen Central
Friends vs. Family The All-time Feud

'Have you noticed your daughter's attitude these days? She's hardly ever home. She treats this house like some kind of free hotel where she can eat and sleep and the rest of the time she is out with friends. She doesn't even talk to me. Of course why would she, I am just the hotel manager! Why would she talk to me?'

I overheard my mother making this complaint to my dad. I was miserable that my mom feels this way. I wanted to set things right, tell her that it's not like that, but we never really had that kind of conversations and saying something like that somehow seemed inappropriate and out of the blue.

This is one of the numerous problems most teens, like myself, face in trying to be involved in everything that's going on with the 'in' circle; events, concerts, parties etc. and in the process we begin to make our family members feel that they are unimportant, that they are being neglected. Since most of us do not exactly have heart-to-heart conversations with our moms and dads, the fact that parents are feeling this way remains bottled up within them and later on grows into something serious and results in sarcastic conversations, raised voices and slamming of doors everywhere.

The easiest way of avoiding these long time grudges between parents and teens is to, I guess, talk it out. If parents could tell us exactly why they are forbidding something or, in this case, the fact that we should give our families more time, then maybe we could cut down on some of our outings.

Because what happens from our side is; we try and get out of the house as much as possible, the parents seem annoyed but don't actually say anything, then we just think its alright to carry on in this manner. We should also sometimes let them in on what is happening in our lives because the communication gap between the generations has led to us living in a world very different from theirs.

I guess we, the teens, also have to compromise now and then. Whenever there is both a family event and a friends outing, we blindly opt for the latter unless forced to do otherwise. Maybe sometimes it's just better to willingly go to the family event, no matter how painfully boring it might be. And most importantly have conversations. It might save you another disgruntled look from your mom and your neighbours a few more door slams!

By Midnight Maiden

Personalised Photo-cards

Give your pals a real sentimental treat this Eid with a one-of-a-kind photo card. S/he can store it in a scrapbook, frame it and hang it, or just display it as it is, but one thing's for sure; this thoughtful gift will make your friend light up in a smile.

What You Need:
♥ Snapshots of special moments
♥ Matte gift-wrapping paper (try the ones from Aarong or Jatra; they're really great!)
♥ Hand-made paper
♥ Scissors
♥ Glue
♥ Black marker
♥ Art card or chart paper
♥ Beads/sequins
♥ Glitter pens

Step 1: Cut the card/chart paper to a suitable size (8”10” is a good size)
Step 2: Cover the card with gift wrapping paper to create a back-ground
Step 3: Cut the handmade paper into a piece 6” 8” to use as a background for your photograph. Glue it into the centre of the card, so that the wrapping paper effectively becomes a border.
Step 4: Crop the photographs into imaginative shapes (circles and hexagons look really nice), and stick them onto the handmade paper section.
Step 5: Embellish with beads/ sequins, creating patterns around the pictures.
Step 6: Write your message on a corner with the black marker pen, and border with glitter pens.
Viola! You have an unbeatable gift that's sure to make your friend's day.

By the Girl Next Door

Yet another success story…

It was not a highly publicized award ceremony, nor was it a highlighted reality show, it was a simple note of appreciation of a young girl's hard work and success. Mashrura Mustabshira Eshaba had big dreams and the necessary determination, which finally led to the extraordinary success of being the highest scorer from Bangladesh in the Ordinary Level examinations under the University of Cambridge.

It was her family that always encouraged Eshaba to study hard and attain perfection. “My parents were not satisfied with the fact that I got all A's, until they received the letter from University of Cambridge International Examinations which changed my life forever- I couldn't believe that I was the highest scorer in the country this year!” said an ecstatic Eshaba.

The Regional Director of South Asia Mark Bartholomew from Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) came in person to honor Eshaba. A small award giving ceremony took place in the Manarat School premises in Gulshan. The ceremony commenced with a welcome speech from the proud Principal Mr. Shariful Alam. Later on, Mr. Bartholomew praised the improvement of the students in terms of the grades achieved. “It was three years back when I last visited Manarat. I am glad to see the progress it has made over the years and this certainly shows the hard work of the management and the teachers of the school.

What makes this achievement special is not only the fact that Manarat has the highest scoring candidate in the country, but also that Manarat has the highest pass rate in Dhaka! As for Eshaba, she has certainly made her way to great heights of success!”

The success of candidates like Eshaba has been greatly due to the range of facilities provided by the CIE.

These include interactive teaching ideas, the innovative Teacher Support Site, video clippings for class use and much more. “The classes I attended were always filled with projects and discussions. We also had laboratory facilities for experiments which made lessons fun!” added Eshaba.

Eshaba was awarded a pile of Advanced Level Cambridge books as a gesture of appreciation from CIE. “These books are certainly going to help me in my A'Levels. I intend to pursue my education in Architecture and make my parents' dream come true. Above all I want to thank Allah for this success.”

By Tahmina Shafique

Dead Frog
A teacher had a 5-year-old come up to her and say that he had found a frog. The teacher asked, "Is the frog alive or dead?" The student replied, "It's dead." The teacher asked, "How do you know for sure?" The boy said, "I pissed in its ear." Aghast, the teacher said, "You did what?" He said, "You know, I went to his ear and said, Psst and it didn't move. So, it must be dead."

Penguins Go to the Zoo
A man drives to a gas station and has his tank filled up. The gas pumper spots two penguins sitting in the back seat of the car. He asks the driver, "What's up with the penguins in the back seat?" The man in the car says "I found them. I asked myself what to do with them, but I haven't had a clue." The clerk ponders a bit then says, "You should take them to the zoo." "Hey, that's a good idea," says the man in the car and drives away. The next day the man with the car is back at the same gas station. The clerk sees the penguins are still in the back seat of the car. "Hey, they're still here! I thought you were going to take them to the zoo." "Oh, I did," says the driver, "And we had a swell time. Today I am taking them to the beach."


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