MTV Asia declares 1 August as 'Asian Youth Day'

MUMBAI: It may primarily be a music channel but MTV is getting serious about its social image as well.

On Thursday, MTV declared 1 August as Asian Youth Day, an initiative between the channel, UNICEF and Levis that evolved from the Speak Your Mind campaign. The campaign, held recently, drew more than 22,000 entries from the region and encouraged youth to voice their concerns on issues affecting society and how they could improve the state of the world.

On the heels of the presentation of the Asian Youth Charter to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan in New York, the plaque journeyed with the agenda of the youth to Singapore where 16 year old Natalya Ann Twohill presented the Charter to President SR Nathan. Thailand's representative Ingrid Tharasook also presented the charter to a government official, according to an official release. After interactions with Colin Powell and the recently held Forum on HIV with former US president Bill Clinton participating, this is MTV's latest initiative to involve youth with the day's pressing issues.

In India, Jinen Thakkar spoke in Bangalore yesterday to media representatives about his experiences in New York. "We came here to the UN in New York and spoke our minds. But now it is time for action. The first step has been taken with this campaign in New York with meeting Kofi Annan and Nelson Mandela. We should now be ambassadors for the UN in our own countries.

" Programming on MTV Asia took on a new facet on Thursday as the camera turned on youths on the streets. Young people spotted by MTV's camera crew introduced music videos that reflect the youth day theme. Viewers got to watch Speak Your Mind documentaries featuring Ronan Keating in Thailand, Wang Lee Hom and Manisha Koirala in Nepal and Regine Valesquez in the Philippines. These reality-based documentaries focus on issues raised by youths - HIV/Aids; child prostitution; education and poverty. The New York special featuring the 12 Speak Your Mind winners presenting the Asian Youth Charter to United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan was also aired during the day.

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