Khudayar Mohla –
ISLAMABAD, (TLTP): Underscoring dire need for media professionals’ sensitization on juvenile reporting, legal consultant of the Group Development (GD) Pakistan – an organization working for the rights of the child in the country – Advocate Sharafat A Chaudhry Sunday said that child-sensitive reporting is mandatory for the sake of child rights protection and to avoid a victim of child sexual abuse from secondary victimization.
Secondary victimization takes place while someone compels the victim or witness child, who suffered from trauma or psychological pain, to recall the incident of abuse or violence. Certain laws of the land prohibit disclosure of the identity of victim of sexual abuse and identity of the juvenile accused with an objective that child victim or the juvenile accused may not suffer from consequential trauma.
Talking to TLTP exclusively, Sharafat A Chaudhry informed that under the Section 376A of the Pakistan Penal Code, printing or publishing the name or any identity of victim of rape may lead to punishment with imprisonment for a term to three years with fine.
Chaudhry called for sensitization of media professional on child sexual abuse reporting, saying the GD Pakistan has planned a series of training for journalists and as many as 70 journalists of various media houses participated in the first phase of the training in Peshawar, Lahore and Islamabad.
The federal government had prohibited identification of a victim of sexual offences through the Press Council of Pakistan Ordinance 2002. Section 14 of the Ethical Code of Practice included in the said ordinance provides: “In the case of sexual offences and heinous crime against children, juveniles and women, names and identifying photographs shall not be published.”
He informed that during the sessions of training, journalists were sensitized on cases of child sex abuse and were told that disclosure of the identity of the juvenile accused is also prohibited under the Juvenile Justice System Act 2018.
Chaudhry said that under Section 8 of the Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisements) Code of Conduct, 2015, TV channels are responsible for ensuring that extreme caution shall be exercised in handling themes, plots or scenes that depict sex offence and violence, including rape and other sexual assaults. Besides, identity of any victim of rape, sexual abuse, terrorism or kidnapping or such victim’s family disclosure is subject to prior permission of the victim or victim’s guardian where victim is a minor.
He said that during the training session, the participant journalists were explained about laws where the federal government has prohibited identification of a victim of sexual offences through the Press Council of Pakistan Ordinance 2002.
“keeping in view the ever-increasing incidents of child sexual abuse, the positive role of media professionals is inevitable to increase awareness among masses for controlling offences against children and providing them protection from abuse and exploitation in the society,” Chaudhry concluded.
The writer heads a leading news wire service ‘The Law Today Pakistan’ commonly known as TLTP. He has a special focus on news relating to superior courts adjudication, Right of access to RTI, civil, political, social and economic rights under the approach that existing cyber regime realization ensures procedural fairness. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org