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World Summit on Media for Children 2020

The date and host country for the next Summit will be announced in July 2018.
It is expected the location will be Asia.

 

Opening speech to the World Summit on Media for Children/ Children's Global Media Summit
Manchester December 5th 2017

Patricia Edgar

Welcome all to this 8th World Summit in Manchester. I applaud the dedication of the team at the BBC and the City who have worked to bring us together, in particular our host Alice Webb.

The Summit movement began in Melbourne 27 years ago, and since then we've held Summits all around the world, in Brazil, South Africa, Asia, Sweden, Greece. I'm delighted we're back in the UK, almost 20 years after the 1998 London Summit, also hosted by the BBC.

Every Summit has been driven by the belief that media have enormous power and potential to inspire, to entertain and educate. Our original purpose was to raise the status of children's media, to promote the funding and development of exceptional programming and enable access for all children. In this digital era, our aim is to understand and capitalise on the potential of new technology in the interests of children.

When we began, our model relied on well funded public broadcasters; on regulation, quotas and subsidies to underscore programs on commercial television, and talented producers to ensure quality control.

The major concern which drove the first Summit was changing technology, just as it is today. Our concern then was how could we maintain quality, locally produced television programming in the face of impending cable and children's channels? How could we serve children, rather than exploit them?

The media landscape has continued to transform at a rapid pace, but we've been slow to react. Control is shifting to new global players, and young people themselves, who, enabled by technology are reshaping the media landscape.

There is nothing new or remarkable to them about this technology. It is simply a part of the lives they live. Our challenge today is to make content available to young people when and how want it, to help them find it, navigate their way through it, and even create it with us.

Mastery and understanding of media technology are now necessary life skills, as important as reading and writing, for living successfully in this century.

We know smart-phones and social media have many positive effects, including feeling connected to social peers with similar interests at home and across the globe. Technology is transforming education, the workplace, entertainment and lifestyles. Healthy balance is the aim and this is where we, come in.

Over the years the Summit movement has focused also on media's role in education. Children are now going on line to teach themselves and digital media is just as challenging to educational institutions as it is to the media industry, for robots and AI are changing the nature of work. Knowledge alone is no longer enough. Young people have to learn how to learn and adapt throughout their lifetime.

Progress here is of fundamental importance for children across the globe, for in 2015 the UN reported that up to 100 million children are not in school. Media can assist in reaching these children and helping their development.

Media are also central to the process of breaking down educational, social and cultural barriers, reducing conflict and building tolerance across the globe. By giving children a voice, facilitating their access and means of distribution we should be able to assist them to build a new world fit for their future.

This Summit movement is about transforming media for education and entertainment to meet 21st century needs. It is about welcoming new players, creating new networks and relationships and finding new economic models. It is about shaking established thinking to its core to ensure that a vibrant industry remains true to its purpose - and its child audience.

Change can be uncomfortable, that is its nature. But it's also exciting. I wish you good progress as we explore new possibilities during this Summit.