Court approves guidelines for media reporting on kids
New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday gave its go-ahead to guidelines for media coverage on matters related to children, requiring reporters not to reveal identity of kids involved in rape, other sexual offences, and drug abuse.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw had earlier set up a committee to frame guidelines.
The committee submitted its report to the court, asking media not to sensationalise stories relating to children.
"Media coverage on matters relating to children may have long consequences on their overall development (physical, mental, psychological, emotional, moral, social, economic), life and dignity, and lack of care by media in this regard may entail real risk of children facing harm, stigma, disqualification and retribution," said the committee.
The panel comprised of the principal magistrate of the Juvenile Justice Board, a member of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, representatives of NGOs and a nominee from the Press Council of India.
The guidelines asked the media not to sensationalise stories or issues related to children.
The reporters "should be conscious of the pernicious consequences of disclosing or highlighting information in a sensational form and the harm it may cause to children", the panel said.
"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 and safety and further suffering in relation to reporting/broadcasting/publishing any story on children."
The committee said in its guidelines that child's identity is not revealed in any manner: "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 or locality and information of the family including their residential or official address."
The committee was constituted in February this year while hearing a public interest litigation filed by an advocate referring to various media reports on a battered baby in January.
The baby, who was admitted to All India Institute of Medical Sciences here Jan 18 with severe head injuries and bite marks, died later.
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