Aklan media briefed on protocols in covering cases involving minors

KALIBO, AKLAN, July 23 (PIA) — The media has a big role in raising awareness on the rights of the child, however, journalistic standards should be reinforced to ensure that the promotion of such rights are protected and regulated, according to the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO)-Aklan.

In her speech during the Aklan Media orientation on reporting involving women and children cases, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Evangelina F. Gallega acknowledged that media practitioners have their bible or protocols in reporting, in the same way, as social workers and government employees have guidelines to follow in handling such cases.

However, PSWDO-Akan stressed that the best interest and protection of the child must be at all times the primary concern and be respected.

Raj J. Alvarado, secretariat of the Regional Sub-Committee for the Welfare of Children VI-Council, further discussed the guidelines for media in reporting and covering cases involving women and children, emphasizing the children’s right to absolute privacy.

Alvarado said that such right of the child should not be compromised at all times even though such minor committed an offense. In reporting, the identity of a child shall not be disclosed whether directly or indirectly and the face or any distinguishing feature or information of the minor should not be shown.

The only exception is in the case of missing children or children looking for their parents or relatives that revealing the identity of the child is necessary.

Disclosure of any private or graphic detail of the case or blotter, including the medico-legal findings, in public, is a violation of confidentiality provisions under the law.

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She emphasized that a child may be interviewed only if assisted by a psychologist or a social worker but as much as possible this should be avoided to prevent the child from retraumatization or revictimization. A social worker or psychologist may be interviewed, instead.

The second principle media practitioner should bear in mind is that the child’s dignity must be respected at all times wherein the use of sexualized images of children is prohibited.

The personal circumstance of the child which will tend to sensationalize the case must be avoided. The child’s life should not be treated as a movie.

Moreover, children have the right to be heard and their access to media should be encouraged for them to be able to express their own opinions without inducement of any kind, in any manner or procedure affecting them. If the child is the source of crime-related news or information, the child’s identity should be protected at all times.

Lastly, Alvarado highlighted the principle that mass media is a partner in the promotion of child rights and the prevention of child delinquency, and is encouraged to relay consistent messages through a balanced approach.

She appealed to the media that journalistic activity which touches on the lives and welfare of children must be carried out with sensitivity and appreciation of the vulnerable situation of children, so that children are not revictimized or retraumatized. (LTP/SQP/PIA-Aklan)

Source: PIA Feed