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Public meet to discuss impact of media violence on children today

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A public meeting on the impact of media violence on children, with special emphasis on television, is being organised by the Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) in Delhi on Wednesday.

The meeting, say the organisers, is the culmination of a nine-month research project conducted by CFAR with support from Unicef, Unesco and Ford Foundation. A field study on media viewing habits of children was carried out in five cities - Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad - with children between the ages of six and twelve who belonged to different socio-economic groups.

The study, undertaken between January and July 2001, has thrown up some serious concerns with regard to children's responses to media violence, concerns which need to be addressed by a wide range of people: parents, teachers, psychologists, child right activists, the government and the entertainment industry.

These concerns include:
The amount of television children watch both in terms of time spent on TV and range of programmes they watch
What "hooks" them to television
Their most vivid recollections of television
Their responses to different types of media violence: horror and the supernatural, graphic physical violence, family drama conflicts and even cartoon violence.
The interactive relationship between reel and real violence in their lives

The findings of the study will be presented along with certain recommendations which will seek to address the main issues at the meet. The public hearing will endeavour to bring together people representing different interest groups to help formulate a blueprint for action which can be faithfully implemented, say the organisers.

Among those expected to participate in the day long sessions are Times of India senior features editor Kaveree Bamzai, Bheeshma International proprietor Mukesh Khanna, Zee ideation head Vinta Nanda, Sabe TV CEO Markand Adhikari, Star creative director Deepak Segal, DD director general SY Qureshi, Unicef's Geeta Athreya and Children's Film Society of India chairperson Sai Paranjapye.

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