"Blue Room" keeps children
Two-day seminar for journalists on "Children and the media. Ethical Coverage of Children" took place in Monatà with speakers Maria Milkova, journalist and Ognyan Penev, operator. The event was organized with the support of Borislav Georgiev from the Association of European Journalists and Ivaylo Spasov from UN Children's Fund (Unicef). There were journalists from Northwestern Bulgaria and social workers from Montana.
The main purpose of the training was focused on the ability and role of the media to change the world for the better, starting with children and creating skills to reflect the smallest members of our society responsibly and with respect for their dignity.
In addition to reviewing and commenting on good and fair coverage of child abuse and children at risk, common and mutually supportive themes were shared between journalists and social workers that would benefit and protect children and victims of violence.
It was extremely interesting and useful to visit the Zakrila Zone in Montana. Ilina Gechovska, head of the Zone, said that last year only 160 children and women benefited from this social service. Petko Petkov, a doctor of sociology, added that it is necessary to work more actively with the abusers, not just their victims, in order to improve the results. He selectively explains and demonstrates how to question children (in criminal cases) in a gentle way in the so-called "blue room" that is in the Zakrila area. On one side are the child, the victim of violence, with whom a psychologist speaks. Behind the glass and invisible to the child, there is a prosecutor, a lawyer, and sometimes the abuser. The interrogation is recorded with the appropriate technique and can be repeatedly used by the different services, without the injured child having to experience the nightmare again and again.
An extremely useful seminar, who presented several years of work to both lecturers. Maria Milkova is the author of some of the strongest and most memorable social reports and documentaries on the air of Bulgarian television. Among its priority topics are those related to children and adolescents, education, family problems of children with disabilities, foster care and adoptions abroad, refugee children, children in institutions.
In 2016, she is among the 10 journalists from the Balkans elected to participate in the scholarship of the international organization Balkan Investigative Journalism Network (BIRN). The theme is the deinstitutionalization of children with disabilities in Bulgaria and the Netherlands.
Ognyan Penev has extensive experience in filming TV shows and documentary TV films on children's themes. From 2016, he worked for the Swiss National Television SRF and the German ZDF. He has screened a project of "Balkan Network for Investigative Journalism" on "Deinstitutionalisation of Children with Disabilities".
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