26 Jul 2004

THE Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) today called on Ofcom to consult directly with Northern Ireland’s under-18s on recommendations for improving media literacy.

The Commissioner’s office is replying to the consultation two weeks ahead of its closing date to allow Ofcom to consider further taking the views of children and young people into account.

Communications is vital for children and young people in the 21st Century, said Barney McNeany, Chief Operating Officer at NICCY and Acting Commissioner.

“Our children and young people need to be involved in decision-making that affects them,” he said. “They also need to understand the daunting range of media that confronts them, with television, radio and the internet becoming more closely linked.”

Mr McNeany said the Northern Ireland Commissioner’s office had been impressed with Ofcom’s efforts to date to involve children and young people.

“We welcome the use by Ofcom of youth panels, but believe this can be further extended, especially in Northern Ireland, where there is already a vibrant culture of involving children and young people.”

NICCY is also urging Ofcom to actively engage with Government to produce a Northern Ireland strategy for media literacy.

“Various government departments are working to increase access to emerging technologies such as broadband,” said Mr McNeany. “Our children and young people can be better equipped as citizens and future entrepreneurs, employees and volunteers through becoming media literate as early in life as possible.”

Notes for Editors

1. At this time no interviews are being given.

2. The Ofcom consultation on media literacy ends on August 10th, 2004. NICCY is returning its consultation ahead of this date to allow Ofcom to consider further consultation with children and young people.

3. A copy of NICCY’s response to the Ofcom consultation can be found on the NICCY web site (www.niccy.org)

ENDS

Issued by:
Jonathan Traynor, Communications
Tel: 02890 311616
Fax: 02890 314545
Mob/out of hours: 07973 422583
Email: jonathan@niccy.org