Seminar on children in the media questions effectiveness of broadcasting code

18 April 2002
The seminar noted that while there are voluntary media codes covering these issues, the media, both print and electronic, have breached these codes. In most instances, the breach took the form of identifying child victims of abuse and violence.

Participants in the seminar indicated that ignorance of the law and the voluntary codes, by both journalists and law enforcement officials, were behind these breaches.

Gilbert Marcus, a speaker at the seminar, stressed that he believed voluntary media codes were more appropriate than statutory intervention but that the media needed to take compliance with these codes more seriously. He appealed to the media to reconsider the appropriateness of their codes and the mechanisms of enforcement of these codes. Another speaker Carrie Kimble from the SA Law commission outlined the Commission’s proposals relating to the identification of children involved in criminal proceedings and how not only were greater sentences being proposed but also additional regulations.

Participants at the seminar made a number of suggestions as to future codes and general principles of reporting. A comprehensive report as well as video of the events is currently being prepared. Copies will be available from the MMP.



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