Sharjah to Hold First Child Safety Forum on September 17

The Child Safety Department (CSD), a subsidiary of Sharjah’s Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA), will organise the first Child Safety Forum at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre on September 17, 2019, under the theme ‘Responsible Media… Safe Child’.

Held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of SCFA, the forum will bring together decision makers, institutions involved in child safety and welfare, as well as child protection experts and practitioners in the UAE and the region, to share the best child safety and protection practices and solutions based on the latest international studies.

The event will shed light on matters related to the safety and protection of children, physically, psychologically and socially, and highlight the various initiatives and projects launched by relevant institutions in the emirate and the UAE and enable them to forge new partnerships at the local and international levels.

The theme of the first edition is in line with the ‘Responsible Media… Safe Child’ initiative launched by CSD in August 2018 under the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi.

The initiative aims to reinforce the role of UAE’s media in protecting children’s rights when reporting on children’s issues, ensure institutional compliance with UAE laws and regulations, and improve reporting and accountability standards for violations that might have a potential psychological, physical and social impact on the child’s future, his family, and the community.

The forum will bring together an elite group of speakers from several federal bodies and media institutions in the UAE to discuss the media’s role in addressing child issues and the social, psychological and legal consequences of violations against children. The forum will discuss the development of policies that ensure the implementation of ethical standards in reporting on children’s issues. It will also help formulate media practices that apart from protecting children’s rights, will also ensure the meaningful participation of children in the media.

Hanadi Saleh Al Yafei, Director of CSD, said the forum aims to increase awareness about the media’s role and responsibility in covering children’s issues. She noted that while various print, audio and visual media organisations strive to safeguard children’s rights in their publications, it is essential to highlight this responsibility and ensure all media institutions abide by high professional and ethical standards, particularly in view of the implications of the fast pace and ease of circulating news on digital and social media platforms, and how it can affect children’s safety.

Al Yafei said: “We are committed to the vision outlined by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, who has said that the wellbeing of children is a guarantee of the future of the whole of UAE, and any disruption of it will adversely affect the nation’s human capital.”

“Therefore, we believe that violations by media professionals not only affect the child victim, but also the aggressor, parents and society as a whole,” she remarked.

“Through this initiative we also seek to strengthen our cooperation with various media entities that are concerned about ensuring child safety, in alignment with the UAE’s strategy and its ongoing development projects and initiatives for the younger generation.”