Children-only press conference on Ukraine held at Czech Radio

A special conference for children addressing the war in Ukraine took place at Czech Radio’s building in Prague on Monday. Among the speakers, who answered the children’s questions was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Vít Rakušan.

What would you pack in your bag if you had to flee your country? What use will President Putin have for Ukraine and the bombed-out cities? Why is Russia attacking places where civilians are hiding? And will there be a third world war? These were just some of the questions asked by children at the special press conference at Czech Radio.

Photo: Czech Radio

Among the guests who tried to answer their questions as best as they could was psychiatrist and psychotherapist Tomáš Rektor, scout leader from Ukraine Natálie Dubanevičová as well as the Minister of Interior, Vít Rakušan. He explained to Czech Radio what made him take part in the event:

“First of all, I am a father of three children myself, secondly, I am a teacher by profession and thirdly, I was surprised last night by a text message from my daughter when I was staying overnight in Prague, that she was afraid of the war.”

The children-only conference was organised by Czech Radio’s flagship channel Radiožurnál together with the Czech Scout organisation, Junák. Reporter Jakub Lucký is the person behind the initial idea:

“I was inspired in Scandinavia, because countries such as Sweden or Finland often hold such children-only press conferences and they are actually organised by the governments themselves.

“I saw a few of those and as the war in Ukraine started it seemed like a good opportunity to start doing those children-only press conferences here in the Czech Republic. The war is a huge topic and the children of course learn about it, but they don’t get any news fit for their age.

“So I pitched the idea both to the Scouts, which I am member of, and to the head of the news department here at Czech Radio, and we decided that it was a good idea.”

Jakub Lucký | Photo: Czech Radio

According to Jakub Lucký, such events can serve as a tool in fighting the spread of disinformation among school children, but they can also help allay their fears.

“The third reason is that we are building their civic engagement. Some of these children were 12 years old and they will be voting soon. So getting them engaged in civic issues and in what is happening in their country is a way to build a relationship with their country and with their civic duties.”

According to Jakub Lucký, Czech Radio considers organising more children-only press conferences in the future, as the current world development offers plenty of other topics to be discussed.

Authors: Ruth Fraňková , Jakub Lucký
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