Banjul – Sunday November 25: The Gambia Press Union condemns in the strongest terms The Point Newspaper story that identifies two underage girls who are victims of alleged sexual abuse.
The story was titled ‘Nigerian faces rape, paedophilia, other charges’.
It was published on Wednesday November 21.
Article 9 of the GPU Code of Conduct for Media Practitioners on Reporting Stories Relating to Children obliges the media to ‘avoid the use of sexualised messages and images of children’
Moreover, Article 2 states: “The media shall always withhold the name or obscure the visual identity of any child who is a victim, perpetrator, witness and/or plaintiff in any situation; and at all times ensure that we do not write stories in a way that could lead to the identification of a child.”
In violation of the above Articles, the publication has published the names of the victims mentioned during a court trial and described in graphic detail the nature of the abuse.
The GPU is of the considered view that the said story is unfortunate and has grossly breached ethics of the profession.
The Union hereby calls on The Point to immediately take the following actions:
remove the story from its website
Apologise for the error
In recent years, the GPU, particularly in partnership with the Child Protection Alliance, has conducted more training programmes on reporting on children than any other field of reporting.
The Union expects reporters and editors to familiarise themselves with the country’s industry-wide Code of Conduct for Media Practitioners, which has been made widely available.
The Union committed to giving more support to the media in the form of training and guidance on ethical standards.
The Union wishes to also inform the public that plans are at an advanced stage for the setting up of the Media Council of The Gambia, a media self-regulatory body that will monitor and enforce violations of the standards of journalism.
The Media Reforms Committee, a stakeholder consultative technical group co-chaired by the GPU and Ministry of Information and Communication on Wednesday wrapped up a two-day meeting that reviewed the founding documents of the proposed Council.
The documents will be subject to wider stakeholder scrutiny in the coming weeks before the Council is launched on December 16, marking the 14th anniversary of the murder of Deyda Hydara.