6 Month Jail and Rs 2 Lakh Penalty for Publishing Photograph of Minors
Mangaluru: The Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) in association with the Women and Children Development Department organized a workshop on the role of Media in Children’s rights and responsibilities at the Press Club here on July 21.
Officer of District Child protection Unit, Usman welcomed the gathering.
Addressing the mediapersons Sr Dulcine Crasta said that the media has played a vital role in the country by creating a positive impact since independence. Media can reach the diverse culture, diverse groups of people and influence the way they think and act. Creating of opinions comes through the influence of the media. The new act introduced by the government should reach every family, and it is the duty of the media to do so.
She further said that the Nirbhaya case was focused in a big way and the outcome was positive because of the impact of the media. Sometimes some of the news is unnecessarily blown up. Media should work proactively and sensitively as our country has agreed on the child rights and is working under the framework of children’s rights.
Role of Media in Child Protection
Positive role played in nation building and protection of rights of citizens. Media has the capacity to reach diverse audiences and influence people’s attitude and behaviour which can positively affect public, professional and political responses to the circumstances in which children and young people find themselves. Recent reports on issues related to children
Concept of Child Protection
Child Protection is protecting children from real or perceived danger.
Protect all children from abuse, neglect, exploitation, violence and unnecessary separation from the family. Child protection is based on two important cardinal principles – best interest of the child and creating a protective environment for children.
Media is one of the special stakeholders in child protection
UN convention on the Rights of the children, art, 17 recognizes the specific role of the media: State shall ensure that the child has access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health;
development of appropriate guidelines for the protection of the child from information and material injurious to his or her well-being.
Art. 13 – Right to information
Art 13 and 14 – Right to a Voice,
Art 16 – Right to Privacy
Concept of Child Protection
Child Protection is protecting children from real or perceived danger. Protect all children from abuse, neglect, exploitation, violence and unnecessary separation from the family. Child protection is based on two important cardinal principles – best interest of the child and creating a protective environment for children.
Role of Media
Agenda-Setting Role: The media “may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about.” The message priming effects state that: by making some issues or messages stand out more than others, the media influence the standards by which a particular issue or message is judged.
Priming role: Placement of the news story or the news item Length Use of “framing” . The way a problem is described. You can select or highlight certain aspects of its reality and neglect or downplay others. This will affect how people respond to it.
Area of Concern
These children are children in need of care and protection – children abandoned, children exploited through child labour, child marriage child trafficking, bonded labour etc; children in difficult circumstances, street and begging children; children who are abused; children who need special protection, children affected by HIV, children with disability, children affected by natural and manmade calamities, children in conflict with the law.
Sec.74 of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of children) Act 2015 puts restrictions on reporting cases of children without the written permission of the concerned authority – specially the factors that reveal the identity of the child and any aspect that will harm the child. Prohibition on disclosure of the identity of children. punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or fine which may extend to two lakh rupees or both.
POCSO Act 2012
Chapter 3 of POCSO prohibits the use of children in pornographic purposes in any media in any form and the punishment, therefore. Sections 20 and 21 makes the media responsible for reporting cases of abuse to concerned authority if it comes to their notice in any form. Section 23 speaks of restrictions on reporting the cases in the media. The report is allowed only based on the permission from the special court.
Principles for Reporting
The dignity and rights of every child are to be respected in every circumstance. Involvement of children in news/programs/documentaries etc. must evidently be editorially justified including from a child rights perspective. In interviewing and reporting on children, special attention is to be paid to each child’s right to privacy and confidentiality, to have their opinions heard, to participate in decisions affecting them and to be protected from harm and retribution, including the potential for harm and retribution.
The best interests of each child are to be protected over any other consideration, including over advocacy for children’s issues and the promotion of child rights. When trying to determine the best interests of a child, the child’s right to have their views taken into account are to be given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity.
Those closest to the child’s situation and best able to assess it are to be consulted about the political, social and cultural ramifications of any reportage. Do not publish a story or an image which might put the child, siblings or peers at risk even when identities are changed, obscured or not used.
Ethical guidelines for investigating reports of Child abuse
Sources of Information – Verify the story Principal Parents/guardians Children Child Protection agencies. What Journalists said about official sources: make efforts to translate technical jargon and don’t be in a hurry to constitute the sole “truth”. Don’t ask unreasonable questions and publish stories that distort the information but let best interest of the child guide your actions. Research beforehand – speak to matter credibly, ask questions intelligently; provide a broader context of the issue; ask about solutions not just about the problem. Show yourself to be credible – Prepare yourself
Ethical guidelines for using Children as sources of information:
All children have rights – you have a responsibility to protect them
Always act in the ‘best interest’ of the child – First do no Harm, therefore, Would not recommend interviewing a child who is a victim of sexual abuse Children as sources of information. Ask yourself… Does the child or his/her guardian know that you are a reporter? Have you obtained permission to conduct the interview or to take photographs? Have you explained the purpose of the interview? Is the child comfortable; does he/she depict signs that he/she is feeling pressured? Have you considered what the background might suggest about the child? Is your language child-friendly? Are you directing your questions to the child or to the adult? Are your questions straightforward and clear, are they leading the child? Ask open-ended questions at first and then ask close-ended questions to narrow it to facts you have to check.
Do not further stigmatize any child; avoid categorisations or descriptions that expose a child to negative reprisals – including additional physical or psychological harm, or to lifelong abuse, discrimination or rejection by their local communities. Always provide an accurate context for the child’s story or image. Always change the name and obscure the visual identity of any child who is identified as:
- A victim of sexual abuse or exploitation,
- A perpetrator of physical or sexual abuse,
- HIV positive, or living with AIDS, unless the child, a parent or a guardian gives fully informed consent,
- Charged or convicted of a crime.
In certain circumstances of risk or potential risk of harm or retribution, change the name and obscure the visual identity of any child who is identified as: a. A current or former child combatant, b. An asylum seeker, a refugee or an internally displaced person. In certain cases, using a child’s identity – their name and/or recognizable image – is in the child’s best interests. However, when the child’s identity is used, they must still be protected against harm and supported through any stigmatization or reprisals.
The Department of Information and Public Relations of all State Governments and U.T. Administrations, the Directorate of Field Publicity, Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Prasar Bharati (AIR and DD), Self-Regulatory Bodies etc. shall give due publicity at appropriate intervals to the laws, rules, regulations and guidelines (including the Guidelines) related to reporting/broadcasting/publication of news/programs/documentaries etc. on and for children.
- 1.2.2 Press Council of India Act, 1978
- 6(i) The Press shall not intrude or invade the privacy of an individual, unless outweighed by genuine overriding public interest, not being a prurient or morbid curiosity. So, however, that once a matter becomes a matter of public record, the right to privacy no longer subsists and it becomes a legitimate subject for comment by the Press and the media, among others.
- 6(ii) Caution against Identification: While reporting crime involving rape, abduction or kidnap of women/females or sexual assault on children, or raising doubts and questions touching the chastity, personal character and privacy of women, the names, photographs of the victims or other particulars leading to their identity shall not be published.
- 6(iii) Minor children and infants who are the offspring of sexual abuse or ‘forcible marriage’ or illicit sexual union shall not be identified or photographed. Ensure Sensitivity on Child-Related Stories. The identity of children infected and affected by HIV should not be revealed. Nor should their photographs be shown. This includes orphans and children living in orphanages, juvenile homes etc.
Press Council (Procedure for Inquiry) Regulations, 1979
Complaint procedure against a newspaper, news agency, editor or other working journalist under Section 14(1) of the Act for professional misconduct.
THE CABLE TELEVISION NETWORKS (Regulation) ACT, 1995 and its RULES, 1994.
The Programming and Advertising Codes as per Rule 6 and 7 provide that no program or advertisement which denigrates children should be carried in cable service.
Guidelines for photographers/ camera persons:
- Set guidelines for your photographer/camera operator;
- Think about the aftermath
- Use long shots, Shoot from behind. Shoot hands, legs etc – sometimes these can tell a
- powerful story.
- Use voice to tell the story.
- Use the child’s environment.
- Get Consent
- Prepare/brief the child.
- Prepare yourself.
- Choose an appropriate location.
- Look for red flags.
Is your story accurate? Have you exaggerated the “shock value”? Have you portrayed the child/children as victims/criminals/human beings with rights and dignity? Do the images used sexualize the children or inadvertently give the impression that children are willing participants in the abuse? Does the story glamorize sex tourism/pornography or other forms of sexual exploitation of children?
- Framework: UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Best Interest of the child (all actions should be done in the best interest of the child)
- Participation ( all children have the right to be involved in decisions that affect them)
- Non-discrimination (rights in the CRC apply to all children regardless of their nationality, status in the country, level of ability or disability etc)
- Key Advocacy Opportunities April 19 – international day against child abuse June 12 – international day against child labour, November 20 – CRC anniversary Child month/Child Rights week?, 21 September – Int. day of Peace
The Chairman of the CWC Nikesh Shetty said that the four child rights have become 15 principals. He said that the two Principals which are directly related to the media, they are Principals of the right to privacy and confidentiality. There are a number of violations but so far no action has been taken against any media. New law says Rs 2 lakh penalty and 6 months imprisonment. Child photo will not be allowed to publish for the help. We publish the sick child’s photo to attract the sympathy of the public and we collect money. There is a right competitive authority to take care of abandoned or neglected child. There is an opportunity to publish photograph by approaching the CWC and take permission.
Chairperson of PADI Renny briefed on the JJ act. There was a question and answer session. President of Press Club Ronald Fernandes delivered the vote of thanks.