Conveniently called the “whipping boy” when violent behavior among children is discussed, television is also blamed, deservedly or not, for many other such phenomena like eroding morals and children’s early introduction to sex.
It is not surprising then that parents and teachers are usually up against what they think is irresponsible broadcasting. In response, the Philippine television networks, through their own aggrupation called the SOUTHEAST ASIAN FOUNDATION FOR CHILDREN AND TELEVISION (SEAFCTV) organized consultative forums nationwide and launched the ANAK TV SEAL.
Similar to a seal of good housekeeping, the ANAK TV SEAL is a national award bestowed by various stakeholders (including parents, educators, business and media people, government, media, NGOs, the religious sector an youth) on TV programs airing on Philippine television, (whether locally produced or not) which they think are child-sensitive. The criteria used are as diverse as the disciplines represented in the multi-sectoral jury.
A Primary Level Jury composed of over 3,000 jurors screens the entries employing flexible guidelines. These judging sessions are held all over the country from February to October. The Secondary Level Jury, where the qualified entrants are elevated to, scrutinizes the programs from various vantage points such as the moral slant, artistic merit, educational content, cultural relevance and others.
Entries that receive the Secondary Jury’s nod in the final round are then endorsed to the board of the SEAFCTV (composed of network presidents and general managers), which formally declares the chosen entries as winners of the ANAK TV SEAL. The seal can now be displayed during the airing of the program as a guide to parents and educators that the program has been screened not just by the industry or a government institution but by the a thick layer of stakeholders, not only in Metro Manila but nationwide.
It is hoped that teachers and parents will rally behind the chosen programs, encouraging children to view them, increasing popular viewership, which will hopefully translate to better revenues for such responsibly-made programs.
The ANAK TV SEAL, the seal of family-friendly programs, is unprecedented in Southeast Asian television history. It is envisioned that other countries, with TV industries suffering similar challenges as the Philippines, will follow suit and create their own national juries to protect children from smut, inanities media violence, cultural decay and crass commercialism. In 2000, there were only 15 winners. By 2002, the number had already risen to 29 ANAK TV SEAL winners. In 2003, a bumper harvest of 45 programs were declared family friendly. In 2004, 55 programs were given the Anak TV Seal. The number increased to 71 in 2005; 87 in 2006; 94 in 2007, 91 programs in 2008. The seals are distributed every year during ceremonies in December.