People urged to engage with news online

A new campaign has launched which urges young people to take ownership of the media, and make their opinions heard, by using comment opportunities and new technology. Launched on Fleet Street by former BBC broadcaster Martyn Lewis and young campaigners from the Respect? campaign group, it also aims to get 1,000 young people to pledge to take action into their own hands. Supported by online charity YouthNet and the British Youth Council, Respect? has teamed up with young people's website to provide tips and advice on how to make a splash in the media ( Martyn Lewis, YouthNet Chairman and Founder commented: "Young people get a bad press, but many have intelligent opinions about news and what's happening in the world. "Too often their voices aren't heard - which is why we're encouraging them to use new technology to comment and help balance news coverage about issues relating to or affecting young people." The three year Respect? campaign is a result of research conducted in 2006 by YouthNet, which found 98% of young people feel the media 'always, often or sometimes represents them as anti-social'. Sophie Manning, Respect? Young People's Advisory Group member, said: "Young people want to play a positive role in the media, but we need to realise that getting our views heard means accepting a two-way relationship with older generations. We have to put the effort in to be noticed, and then people will see thoughtful and responsible young people as the norm, not the exception." The online pledge, which reads, "I pledge to make my voice heard and help young people's views to get noticed. When I have an opinion on a news story, I will voice it in the media by commenting online, writing to editors of papers or magazines, or calling in to TV or radio programmes. It's our news too." can be accessed at along with articles and advice on how to make your voice heard in the media. No responsibility can be taken for the content of external Internet sites.

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