Sunday, April 14 2024

Through modern TV and radio programming, and the constantly updated web
variety, mainstream media offers a much broader content choices than
previous decades.

But the media doesn’t always offer quality content that corresponds to this
programming panorama and great freedom of selection. One of the most
frequent questions that Family and Media receives from related
associations and forums, as well as simple users, is

how can we actually improve quality or are we forced to resign to a
passive, idle and sometimes damaging reception, above all for children
and teens

?

To unpack the issue and find answers to such a question, we’ve interviewed Gabriela Delgado, responsible for the development of
communications of

A Favor de lo Mejor

, an association that has been working for years towards the improvement of
media content to benefit families, children and society in Mexico. Her
story is sure to provide helpful indications for readers from around the
globe.


How was A Favor de lo Mejor born and what are your main
objectives?

A Favor de lo Mejor
was born as a people’s movement, where representatives of social and
business realities wanted to contribute to the improvement of media
content. The fundamental objective is to create the “friendliest” possible
relationship between mass media and society. We are convinced that it is
vital to work towards a society where positive content is always flowing
from television screens to the public. By “positive”, I refer to creative,
attractive, and above all, high quality content.


Could you tell us about your various initiatives? For example, the
contest #DíaQUniversitario, a project that you have carried
out with Mexican university students to stimulate the creativity and
sensibility of the youth?

The #DíaQUniversitario competition aims to stimulate the
creativity of communication students from some Mexican universities and
simultaneously give them thorough references for their work in the
communications field. The last edition of the contest , for
example, was thought of as a type of rally, where experts and professionals
from the world of communications and advertising presented their success
stories and offered valuable suggestions on how to develop this type of
work. After these testimonies, the students, divided into teams, worked for
5-6 hours on a video through which they were able to tell their own story.

In that way, we were able to see what and how next-to-be communication
professionals tell their stories. And to our surprise, we saw that the
majority of the stories were positive and creative, without violent or
vulgar content. It’s a long and complex job that we can summarize in three
steps. The first is the task of the headhunters to scope out
talent. The second is typically a coaching on finalists, because
we believe that betting on the formation of worthy students should be the
main basis for stimulating talent in the youth. The last step is the hope
that these young people can find work within the media field, and thus use
their talent to positively impact content.


The Senate of the Republic of Mexico called in your movement to listen
to the voice of viewer associations regarding the bill to reform the
telecommunications law. Is this simply a political approach to tweak
public image, or is there a real interest to give voice to the public?
At what stage is the parlimentary debate?

I admit that we too have asked ourselves the same question. After the
President of Mexico decided on the new draft for the Constitutional Reform
of Telecommunications and debate subsequently triggered in the Senate and
the House, they wanted to hear the opinion of associations and citizens. A Favor de lo Mejor was one of the organizations summoned. We were
able to make the voice of Mexican society heard, and we managed to insert a
section related to “User Rights” into the Constitutional Reform. We
strongly advise that the demands of the citizens are heard, especially on
such topics that directly involve them. We therefore made our voice heard
in institutional headquarters and often found, to our benefit, a
willingness to listen and offer positive responses. We hope that from this
new law, a clearer frame emerges in which creators and producers can move
in such a way that necessary changes may be seen immediately.


To speak of quality television today is quite complicated. What main
characteristics should a good program have?

True, it’s very complicated. And to be honest, I haven’t really found a
precise definition of quality for a program. I have the feeling
that nobody has the courage to express their opinion in the absense of
indicators and parameters that could help define a standard of quality.
Nevertheless, we’ll try. By quality, we intend the following
dimensions:

1. The production quality is the technical quality, where
only the best possible resources are taken into consideration.

2. The message quality is obtained when the contents
fufill the social function of the media, thereby contributing to the
betterment of society through elevating culture, a harmonic development of
childhood, preserving national traditions and identity, and strengthening
family bonds, universal principles and values, and human dignity.

3. The quality of program placement lies in the type of
placement within television schedules and relevance of timing with regard
to the target audience.

4. Finally, I would like to highlight the

consideration of the target audience and respect towards viewers

.

Who must decide? Surely there must be a widespread and general consensus.
The means alone (i.e. the television, radio, etc.) cannot determine what
may or may not be quality; the audience, the institutions, and the opinions
of experts and associations must be taken into consideration, in addition
to consulting others in accademic or business circles.


Cyberbullying is a global phenomenon that unfortunately continues to
increase and is neverthless underestimated, even on the legistlative
level. In what way can it be opposed?

It’s true. It’s quite a disconcerting phenomenon that unfortunately is
increasing in numbers. I think that we should work to raise awareness of
the issue among the authorities, with accurate facts on hand. This would
make the need for a more fitting and careful legislation evident, with laws
that don’t account only for punishments and prohibitions, but rather
provide public policies and campaigns for mediatic and digital literacy in
order to promote the responsible usage of media, especially Internet. I am
convinced that with a well prepared user that knows how to use techonology
to its best, we will have less cases of cyberbullying. Beyond the
protection laws, the greater challenge is to form the user so that,
independently of any punishment, vigilance, or filter, he/she does not
cause damage to other users. Futhermore, I believe that in addition to good
legislation, there’s a need for a close collaboration with other
educational and family entities.


Now to close with a provocatory question: are video games a good gift
for our children?

This question can be responded to with another question: is a baseball bat
a good gift for a child? It could become a weapon for vandalism or for
threatening his friends. What I want to say with this example is that the
videogame or the bat can be whatever the user wants it to be. A videogame
can be a good gift if I choose it well, if I know what it deals with, what
sort of content is has, what are the challenges to overcome, what a fair
amount of time needs to be spent on it, etc. Because even though it is true
that in many videogames we find violence, crime, and sexuality, we also
find games that involve dexterity, music, and strategy, which can help
train and develop certain capacities, motor skills, sociability, and
creativity. They can even become an excuse to play together as a family.

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