Moments from the closing ceremony of Ajyal Youth Film Festival. Picture: Shemeer Rasheed
“One of the most important factors today is that our children are learning only one language. This forces children to become global citizens and we are running the risk of losing touch with individual cultures and language. We need locally produced children’s content that reflects regional lives” said Sami Raffoul, CEO, Pan Arab Research Centre.
Fatma Mohamed Alloo, Board Member, Zanzibar Film Festival said, “It’s important that the content you create relates to people’s lives, youth need to create their own content”. Christine Mendoza, Director of Research and Evaluation at Education Video Centre, USA added “We need more media by youth, for youth.”
Children were also highlighted as Digital Natives at a session that provided examples of media literacy best practise and training programmes from Ethiopia, Lebanon and India. Youth produced content from Qatar and India was also screened.
“Reading and writing doesn’t do it anymore, you need to be media literate” said Rania Khaled Al Hussaini from the Doha Centre for Media Freedom.
Screenwriter Mohammed Hassan Ahmed talked about scriptwriting as the backbone of filmmaking and said workshops we aimed at addressing “how young children deal with the language of cinema and deconstruct the culture of cinema.”
In addition to creating original youth content, the panel discussed the need for media to help to shape younger generational minds.
“Extreme factors in many of our countries limit the youth and the role of media have the power to define young minds. We control the power to show images of peace, or fan the flames of hatred. The media has to decide the role it plays today and if it will be used as a medium to promote violence and extremisms or equality, tolerance and light,” said Monezza Hashmi, General Manager International Relations, HUM TV Pakistan.
An insightful discussion on ‘social media and games’ debated the impact of social gaming on youth. The panellists called for integrating strong value systems into the games, thus promoting better engagement with the youth and inspiring them to become socially responsible individuals. Highlighting the potential of growth for the gaming industry in the Middle East, Ammar Mohammed, a social media expert from Qatar, said the country offers a solid platform for developing new Apps and games.
Annika Olofsdotter, Game Researcher with Sweden’s Sodertorn University, said it is important to discuss ‘who makes games for whom and to what consequences.’ The panellists were united in their view that gaming has its benefits on children, reminding audiences the actual number of games with violent content being produced on a per year basis has not increased in the last 15 years.
Get more stuff like this
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.