Mangaluru: During a press meet organized by Childline 1098, Renni D’Souza-Collab Director-Childline-Collab Agency PADI briefed about the guidelines for media reporting on children. On the dais were District Child Protection Unit Officer-A Usman, District Legal Services Authority member secretary-B Ganesh, Additional Superintendent of Police-V Shantha Kumar and CWC Chairman-Niresh Shetty. A poster was released by the dignitaries on the dais. Addressing the gathering Renny said, “Media coverage on matters relating to children may have long term consequences on their overall development (physical, mental, psychological, emotional, moral, social, economic etc.), life and dignity; and lack of care by Media in this regard may entail real risk of children facing harm, stigma, disqualification, retribution etc.
“The privacy, dignity, physical and emotional development of children is of the utmost importance, which are to be preserved and protected at all times, while reporting / broadcasting / publication of news / programs / documentaries etc. on and for children. Meaning of terms used: “Child” or “children” shall mean a person(s) who has/have not completed 18 years of age; “Media” shall include, but not be limited to, any newspaper, magazine, news sheet or electronic media. Involvement of children in news/programs/documentaries etc. must evidently be editorially justified including from a child rights’ perspective”.
“Media shall ensure that child victims of rape, other sexual offences, trafficking, drug / substance abuse, elopement, organized crimes, children used in armed conflicts, children in conflict with law and child witnesses etc. are automatically guaranteed anonymity for life. Media must ensure that due consideration is given to a child’s right to privacy and to prevent the child from being exposed to anxiety, distress, trauma, social stigma, risk to life & safety and further suffering in relation to reporting/broadcasting/publication of news / programs / documentaries etc. on and for children. Media shall ensure that a child’s identity is not revealed in any manner, including but not limited to, disclosure of personal information, photograph, school / institution / locality and information of the family including their residential / official address”.
“Media shall not sensationalize issues or stories, especially those relating to children, and should be conscious of the pernicious consequences of disclosing/highlighting information in a sensational form and the harm it may cause to children. Interviewing a child by the media: This shall be governed by the following principles: a) That the interview is in the child’s best interest. b) That the interview does not aggravate the child’s situation further. c) That the manner and content of the interview doesn’t affect/interfere with the child’s right to privacy. d) That if the interview is in the child’s best interest, the same shall be done under supervision and consent of the child’s parent(s) or legal guardian, or in the alternative, the competent authorities for the child. e) That while interviewing a child, his/her consent may be obtained, depending upon his/her age and maturity”
“f) Frequent interviewing of a child must be avoided. g) The child’s refusal to be interviewed must be honored. h) Before interviewing the child he/she must be duly informed about the purpose and manner of the interview. i) The child and/or his/her parents/guardian or any person having control over him/her shall not be coerced or enticed in any manner including financial or other inducement to secure consent for the interview. Media must verify the credentials and authority of individuals/organizations whose consent is sought on behalf of the child”.
“Media shall not give any financial or other inducement to the child or parent / guardian or others in relation to reporting / broadcasting / publication of news / programs / documentaries etc. on and for children. Media must balance its responsibility to protect children from unsuitable content with the right to freedom of expression and the right to know. To protect the identity of the child media shall ensure that any visual showing the face of the child must be completely morphed in cases where privacy /anonymity is required. Media shall orient / sensitize its editorial personnel, including editors / editorial team / reporters / correspondents / producers / photographers etc. about laws, rules, regulations and guidelines related to reporting / broadcasting / publication of news / programs / documentaries etc. on and for children. The media shall proactively promote the children’s right to information and freedom of expression”.
The press meet was attended by DK journos and also mass communication students from St Aloysius College-Mangaluru.