Ballarat's young people have shared their views on the role of media in democracy as part of an essay competition.
Ballarat ABC Friends announced the four winners of the competition during an afternoon tea at The Canberra Hotel on Thursday.
Participating high school students responded to the theme 'that a public broadcaster is essential in a democracy' in their writing.
It is really good to have young people's voices heard.Molly Fredericks
Competition winner and Year 9 Ballarat High School student Audrey English said she believed media diversity would continue to be important in the future.
"It is an issue with people my age, they don't know much about what is going on in the world. I listen to the radio," she said.
"You get the whole story and not just part of it and you know what is going on around you. Lots of people get their news from social media these days."
Second-place winner and Year 9 Woodmans Hill Secondary College student Molly Fredericks said she was passionate about a free media environment.
"We can't really know about anything unless we read it and we have to form our own opinions about what to do, what to vote about," she said.
"We form those opinions through news and if that is biased or distorted we can't form a correct opinion.
"It is really good to have young people's voices heard and to have a conversation that is exclusively young people talking about something that doesn't necessarily come up in school or classes."
The Canberra Hotel owner Malcolm Roberts sponsored the competition, providing prize money of $500 and hosting the awards presentation.
The Courier editor Eugene Duffy and Ballarat Times journalist Edwina Williams judged the competition entries.
Ballarat ABC Friends group member David Mac Phail said participating young people showed an understanding of the importance of the media and its role as a pillar of democracy.
"Here we have in Ballarat a really good diverse media but it is all under threat and we need to understand that. I think these young people do," he said.
"Young people in Ballarat are taking up issues my generation haven't done well enough like climate change, black lives matter and violence against women; the energy is coming from those young people.
"I feel a sense of reassurance that young people are engaged in this matter of the media and its role in democracy and it reflects their understanding of those other related serious universal issues."
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