National Association of Media Educators
Cautions Parents and Educators
Regarding Proposed YNN Launch

For Immediate Release

February 11, 1999

Toronto: The President of CAMEO (Canadian Association of Media Education Organizations) issued a warning today to parents and educators about the proposed launch of YNN (Youth News Network) in Canada, following YNN's announcement on Monday of this week that it plans to enter Canadian schools in September 1999. CAMEO joins a long list of national and provincial educational organizations including the Canadian Teachers' Federation who have serious concerns about the validity and educational values of YNN.

The battle to keep YNN out of Canadian schools has been raging since 1992. YNN offers to "give"schools a/v equipment in exchange for student's daily compulsory viewing of a 12 minute "newscast" which includes commercials. Educators and parents successfully thwarted YNN's initial attempts to infiltrate Canadian schools several times over the past seven years.

Now, YNN is back, offering a deceptively sweet deal to Ontario schools and boards who are legitimately interested in new technology but vulnerable in that they are reeling from funding cuts to education.

The national movement that continues to oppose YNN rejects both the educational legitimacy and morality of forcing children to watch advertising during classroom time (in exchange for "free"a/v equipment) as well as forcing them to watch news programming from unknown sources.

Former Canadian Teachers' Federation President, Maureen Morris believes that " . . . the YNN project also contradicts The Conference Board of Canada guidelines which also speak of voluntary participation, and deal with the question of ethics and values of all partners."

CAMEO President John Pungente, SJ explains: "YNN is the worst model of how television can be used as an education tool in the classroom. Forcing children to watch a program at specific times of day that contains paid commercial advertising in exchange for "free" equipment turns kids into captive audiences. It turns over shrinking teaching time to advertisers' sales pitches."

A group of parents and teachers opposed to YNN will attempt to make their views known at a meeting of parents at Meadowvale Secondary School on February 22nd,. Parents will be shown promotional material about YNN which is being sent to 2,300 Canadian schools. YNN announced that the Mississauga, ON school (part of Peel District School Board) has agreed to be the test site for various YNN applications.

"Wherever YNN reappears, students, parents and teachers eventually rise up and affirm that children in public classrooms are not for sale. The truth is that YNN is not a news organization, has no journalistic credentials whatsoever, and is not licensed by the CRTC. Its sole objective is to make a profit from a captive audience, our students", says Bob Fisher a teacher in Ontario's York Region.

CAMEO points out that YNN's commercial venture and so-called educational motives must be questioned. CAMEO also points out that there are other credible providers of commercial-free, educational television and teaching materials in Canada.

CAMEO joins other organizations that have officially opposed YNN:

National Organizations:

Alliance for Children and Television
Canadian Association for Media Education Organizations
Canadian Home and School and Parent-Teacher Federation
Canadian Teachers' Federation
Conference of Catholic Bishops
Council for Canadians
Parents Against Commercial Television in the Schools

Provincial Organizations:

British Columbia Teachers' Federation
Canadian Association for Media Education (British Columbia)
Alberta Education (Ministry of Education)
Alberta Association for Media Awareness
Alberta Teachers' Association
Calgary Catholic School Board
Edmonton Public School District Trustees
Parents Against Commercial TV in the Schools
Media Literacy Saskatchewan
Manitoba Association for Media Literacy
Association for Media Literacy
Institute for Catholic Education
North York Board of Education
Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops
Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association
Ontario English Teachers' Association
Ontario Federation of Home and School Associations
Ontario Ministry of Education
Ontario Public School Teacher's and Training Federation
Ontario Secondary School Teacher's Federation
Ontario Teacher's Federation
Association for Media Education Quebec
The Government of Quebec
The Quebec Ministry of Education
Association for Media Literacy Nova Scotia
Colchester-East Hants School Board
Dartmouth School Board
Lunenburg School Board
Northside-Victoria School Board
Nova Scotia Home and School Association
Nova Scotia Ministry of Education
Nova Scotia Teachers' Union
Richmond School Board Yarmouth School Board

For more information contact:

John Pungente, SJ
416 515 0466
fax: 416 515 0467

For background information on YNN see: