General News of Friday, 1 August 2008
Accra, Aug. 1, GNA - The Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs on Friday condemned the media for disregard in protecting the rights of children in child abuse stories. A statement signed by Mr. Daniel Dugan, sector Deputy Minister, said: "Our attention has been drawn to rampant abuse of the rights of some children by media practitioners who lift the protective cover of child victims."
It said such abuses included the telecast of children suspected of witchcraft, reproducing clear or blurred pictures of child victims and stating the real names of victims.
The statement reminded the media that the practice violated Article 3 of the Juvenile Justice Act, which states that "a juvenile has the right to privacy during arrest, investigation or trial of the offence and at any other stage of the cause of the matter". "The Children's Act, 1998 (Act 5600 Article 39 (1) also clearly states that no person shall publish any information that may lead to the identification of the child in any manner before a Family Tribunal, except with the permission of the Family Tribunal." The statement said it was also contrary to Article 8 (1) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which mandated the respect of the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law, without unlawful interference.
The practice also violated the UNICEF Principles for Ethical Reporting on Children and Article 15 of the Ghana Journalist Association Code of Ethics.
The statement entreated the media to be also mindful of Article 28 (1c) of the 1992 Constitution and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child to always consider the best interest of children as paramount.