This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

A Voice from Nigeria on The Youth & The Media

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Written by Dickson Popoola
Edited by Omolola Famuyiwa

In general, “media” simply means the various means of communication. For example, the Radio, Television, Newspapers & Magazines and the Internet are different types of media. The term can also be used as a collective noun for the press or news reporting agencies. In the computer world, the term refers to the different types of data storage options. Understanding what the media is will help us to relate the term “media” with the youths to fully understand the problems and developments faced in today’s world as it concerns the youth and media. Youth according to the United Nations is the age between 15 and 25 but here I would stretch my coverage area to children.

Let me jump in on it, the media casts youth in a constant bad light and habitually portray the youths in an overwhelming negative image. The press has minimal youth representation, a chunk of press stories involve young people committing or associated with crimes. We have heard gory tales of teenagers killing a police officer, a teenage boy assassinating his parents, young people threatening school massacre etc. Interestingly, the media have a seemingly direct influence on the results of youth violence; many of these crimes has been traced to the influence of songs with heavy lyrical contents, negative adverts, negative religious values portrayed within the media etc.

So many negative media images have featured suffering and dying children in poor parts of Africa, tragedy images from political conflicts, pandemics and natural disasters have featured children. The relationship between the children and the media goes a long way in realizing the child’s right to identity, dignity and self-respect. The media should and have the ability to report positively on young people, identify and celebrate our achievements and not focus on horrible pictures of malnourished naked children… The youths need to be represented fairly.

The generation of young people really needs information in all aspects of the media; we need to find ways to promote our own active participation in the media and media development. We the young minds need to learn as much as we can about the media in order to make right choices as media consumers so as to maximize our potential and open ourselves up for optimum benefit. The government also plays a key role in how we should be represented. We should be seen as potential clients rather than bothersome consumers. The young people are real investments; if only the government could see that we are less expensive as educated and nationally conscientious than as radicals or criminals.

We need to play an important role in making a significant impact in the society. To achieve this, we need to understand the issues affecting us and the proper way to communicate these issues to the necessary authorities. In Nigeria for example, the young people are being deprived of their rights to good education, to good health and basic needs. To become critical thinkers, we need to be more creative. To become tomorrow’s leaders, we need to be empowered and catered for. The youths should be represented in all areas adequately. Report about young people should be in a fair and accurate manner as they do to other groups. The image of young people engaged in anti-social activity, violent outbursts, unreasonable behaviour, crime and drug abuse has become a favourite of the press as it generates strong feelings of moral outrage and antagonism but this should be stopped. Instead, young people’s innovations and inventions should be made known through the media.

The body governing broadcast in Nigeria, National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) should look seriously into the adequacy and appropriateness of programmes and programming for young people. The days of cartoon and musical fillers especially those with violence (e.g. Tom & Jerry) and immoral language, should be gone for good. Local content should be encouraged and the percentage decided by NBC should be enforced. When the media start paying fines for not providing adequate and appropriate content; the stakeholders will sit up tight and do what is right.

The theme for the International Children’s Day of Broadcasting (ICDB) this year is, “All Rights, All Children.” Hence quality content should not only be tailored to the children of the rich or educated. Giving those who do not know any better programmes of low quality only further enmesh them in their current state. Giving all young people quality, adequate and appropriate programmes at the time they are available to watch will develop young people towards becoming wholesome citizens.

There is need for we young people to change our “siddon look” attitude. You have a right to complain about the programmes you see on air or the columns labeled for children in the papers or on the internet if you feel uneasy about the content, quality, language etc. The more letters we write, the more calls we make, the more visits to the General Managers would make those in charge see that we are stakeholders who know our rights and are ready to stand up for those rights. Plus the better the quality of the programmes, the more likely sponsors and advertisers would come on board to keep the programmes alive and the more children would have access to participate in media.

It is a shame that parents who were once young vote against sponsorship of children’s programmes. Kudos to companies that advertise on children’s pages, programmes, magazines. We celebrate you! You are the reason young people are being educated, informed, entertained. For the others still sitting on the fence; don’t wait till it becomes illegal not to have a chunk of your advertising budget devoted to children and youths.

In conclusion, publishing and airing the right things at the right time and getting a media system that supports media makers so they can do what they do best: create media that reflect real people would work best. It is believed that fewer people listen to the children and young people yet, we have revealing insights to offer adults and the public. We the young people should be approached by key media players to give opinions and also to share our views on issues affecting the populace globally.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) should be promoted and accessible to young people so they are well informed about their rights and determine ways to contribute to the fulfillment of these rights and carry out responsibilities attached to these rights. There should be proper media education especially about development in new media technologies and products and also for the protection of harmful media contents which is really an important factor. The role the media plays in the lives of the young people necessitates that media literacy should be part of the school curriculum.

We the young people are represented in the media in various ways through the mass media. There is a need for the young minds to be heard and the role of the young people in making huge contributions to the development of the society at large should be celebrated. We need to encourage a media that ensures young people are given the chance to comment on issues affecting them; to avoid repeated words like “yobs”, “thugs”, “criminals”, “bullies”; and to recognize that most young people are disciplined, law abiding citizens that are against crimes and more interested in becoming good leaders.

Dickson Popoola is a volunteer columnist for willows magazine and a guest columnist at Youth Ki Awaaz from Nigeria. He has recently been invited to the 5th World Youth Congress, Istanbul, Turkey and is one of the few selected young leaders representing his country at the international stage.

You must be to comment.

    I totally disagree with your opinion to ban “tom n jeery”-tagged as a violence programme by you. If a cartoon like that can encourage your youth to take up violent methods then the problem lies in your youngsters. I’am not suggesting a “no censor” type of situation but instead I’am for censorship but at the end media should be provided with maximum freedom and it depends on viewers as how they percieve it!

  2. Anne

    Take some time off to really watch Tom & Jerry and you’d see the violence embedded in it. Not that it is a bad programme in its entirety and it definitely makes children laugh but with children today practising all they watch especially in the face of different types of rivalries in the world, we need better programmes that are culturally relevant instead of making our homeland a dump ground for materials capable of re-colonising our children.

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Md Siddiqur Rahman

By Neha Yadav

By anand kumar sahil

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below