Brussels, November 20, 2009 (SIGNIS) - "We are the children of the world. Do you listen to our voices?" asked more than a hundred children at the recent SIGNIS World Congress in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The Congress theme was "Media for a Culture of Peace - Children's Rights, Tomorrow's Promise" and the event with over 650 participants featured the energetic contribution of 10 young video journalists from several Asian countries as well as a hundred children from three schools in the Chiang Mai area.

"Children are growing up in a digital world and we as Catholic media professionals have a special responsibility to ensure their rights are respected and their voices heard," said SIGNIS President Augustine Loorthusamy.

Therefore, in answer to the children's challenge, we, as a worldwide association of Catholic communicators and media professionals, pledge to make children's rights an ongoing priority in our work.

We reaffirm our commitment, in partnership with other organizations and agencies, such as the International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE), the International Coalition for the Decade, 6th World Summit on Media for Children (Karlstad 2010), and others to promote children's rights in and through the media.

This year, 20th November marks the 50th anniversary on which the United Nations Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959, and the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989.

On this day, we commit to act to

- Support the child's right of access to the media, including digital media, and to freedom of expression (Convention, Art.13)

- Promote and support media education at all levels and at every age so that children can learn to use the media wisely and creatively (Convention, Art.17)

- Strengthen efforts to protect children from harm and violence in the media (Convention, Art.17, 34, 36)

- Monitor the coverage of children in the media and promote wider implementation of UNICEF's Principles for Ethical Reporting on Children (Convention, Art 17)

- Encourage and enable children to participate in the media so that their voices may be heard and their faces seen (Convention, Art. 12, 31)

- Encourage the media to pay greater attention to child rights and to work to publicize and combat violations of children's rights. (Convention, Art 17)