Television has the power to inform, to entertain and to educate. The International Children's Day of Broadcasting (ICDB), taking place each December, presents a unique opportunity for broadcasters and the media to use this power to benefit children. The Convention on the Rights of the Child which has been ratified by almost every country on earth states in Article 12 that every child has the right to express his or her opinion freely and to voice that opinion. The International Children's Day of Broadcasting gives kids this chance.
In 1991 UNICEF challenged the media and broadcast industry to do more for kids. With the help of The International Council of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), the Day was launched and broadcasters eagerly took up the challenge.
In 1992, 200 broadcasters in a little over 80 countries took part in the first International Children's Day of Broadcasting. In 1993, 824 stations in 112 countries participated, the numbers continued to grow and in December 1995 more then 2,000 broadcasters from over 170 countries took part.
The huge increase in participants is only part of the story. The Day has provided governments, broadcasters, communities and children themselves with a powerful opportunity to create not only a better broadcast environment but also a better world for young people. Governments in many countries have embraced the Day, using it for a catalyst for action on behalf of children. Broadcaster involvement goes far beyond the mere allocation of an hour or two of programming and children play a stronger role each year, not only expressing their own concerns, but also using the power of broadcasting to help those among them who are especially vulnerable.
The International Children's Day of Broadcasting is now one of UNICEF's most successful advocacy initiatives. It has the support of some of the world's most powerful and influential broadcasting organizations and broadcasters from all over the world now annually " tune in to kids". All UNICEF asks is that broadcasters air programming for, about or by children. One unique part of this initiative is that broadcasters themselves decide how and in what way they will participate. In order to maximize global participation UNICEF provides high quality low cost programming to any broadcaster wishing to use it for the Day.
In light of the enormous success of the Day, the Board of Directors of the International Council of NATAS voted unanimously to recognize outstanding broadcaster participation in ICDB by creating the International Council/UNICEF Award. The International Council/UNICEF Award is intended to honor the television broadcaster whose special programming for the Day is judged the most outstanding - not for a single television show but for over all level and quality of participation.
The International Council/UNICEF award was conferred for the first time in November 1995 at the International Emmy Awards Gala to Sabado Chiquito De Corporan of the Dominican Republic for a 12 hour live, uninterrupted children's programming marathon that was seen via satellite in 11 Latin American Nations.