Saturday, February 23, 2019 | ePaper

Media can't reveal identities of children in criminal cases: HC

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Staff Reporter :
The High Court (HC) on Tuesday directed all media, including the Daily Star to remain alert while publishing name, address and photo of a child in any under-trial criminal case.
The court said, the name, address and photo of an accused under- 18 cannot be published before, during and after the trial of a criminal case as per the Children Act 2013.
The HC Bench of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Razik-Al-Jalil passed the observation while delivering judgement on a writ petition filed by a Supreme Court lawyer, Barrister Sayedul Haque Sumon.
Media reports cannot have information which can disclose the identity of a child, it said.
Barrister Sayedul Haque submitted the petition in the HC in November last year challenging the legality of publishing details of a child involved in any criminal case.
The court asked the Law Secretary, Information Secretary and Law Reporters Forum to be vigilant so that media does not disclose such information.  Delivering its observation, the HC Bench said, the privacy of the children must be protected so that they cannot be treated badly in the society when they are adult.
The HC also ruled that media cannot use words like offender, convict and accused for the children involved in criminal cases. It suggested using words like "guilty of an offence" in relevant reports.
Lawyer Sagufta Tabassum Ahmed stood for the writ petitioner, while lawyer Kazi Ersadul Haque for the Daily Star.
Barrister Sumon said that on November 5, 2018, the Daily Star published a report titled 'Boy gets ten years for killing classmates' in which the details about the minor was published, which is a complete violation of Section 28 of Children Act, 2013.
Later, he filed the writ with the High Court.
After hearing the writ petition, on November 19, the HC issued a rule asking the authorities concerned to show cause as to why an order should not be given to media to stop the use of name, address, photos and other identities of the children in newspapers and magazines and other media.
The court also asked the Editor of the daily to explain about the published news within 15 days.
Barrister Sumon said that the Section 28 clearly prohibits media to publish articles, photographs and information that go against a child under trial.

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