Norms for reporting rape | Forum

Topic location: Forum home » Personal » Rape
LetsHelpIndia May 14 '14, 07:09

We hear about rape and sexual assault mostly from the media. It is important, therefore, that media reports are written sensitively and responsibly. While laws govern the functioning of the police, the hospitals and the courts when it comes to sexual assault, are there ethics that govern media reportage? Here are some norms for reporting as prescribed by the Press Council of India and the National Broadcasters' Association.

The media must:

  • Respect the right to privacy and anonymity that a survivor of rape and sexual assault and her family are entitled to. 
    Special caution is essential in reports likely to stigmatize women. Things concerning a person’s home, family, religion, health, sexuality, personal life and private affairs are covered by the concept of privacy.

  • Respect the right to privacy and anonymity that a witness of rape and sexual assault is entitled to. 
    Identification of witnesses endangers them to come under pressure from the accused and his associates as well as investigative agencies. They may turn hostile succumbing to the pressure.

  • Understand the difference between what is of public interest and what isn’t. 
    The media should report for the betterment of society. Insertion of out-of-context, uncalled for and irrelevant statements must be eschewed.

  • Respect the dignity and privacy of the survivor and witness in any photograph. 
    The integrity of the photographic moment should be respected. The privacy of an individual should not be invaded by a morbid curiosity.

  • Not assume that the family members of the accused or convicted are related to the crime. 
    Journalists should not name or identify the family or relatives of a person convicted or accused of a crime when they are totally innocent and a reference to them is irrelevant.

The Forum post is edited by LetsHelpIndia May 14 '14, 07:10
Vidhi Agarwal
Vidhi Agarwal May 23 '14, 08:30
exactly. the accused person's family has as much right to privacy as the victim's family has.
bharti May 23 '14, 08:48
The title: The pen must not always be a mighty sword is really very apt.
And yes, media reports should be written sensitively and responsibly.

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