HC wants media code for child abuse cases

TNN | Feb 9, 2012, 02.22 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the government to constitute a committee on a plea that sought guidelines to regulate media reporting and disclosure of details about children in cases like that of the two-year-old battered baby, Falak, who is admitted at AIIMS.

A bench headed by the high court chief justice took suo motu cognizance of a letter written to him for framing of guidelines for media reporting on such sensitive issues. The court also sought a response from the Centre as well as the state government within a week.

Falak was admitted to AIIMS on January 18 with severe head injuries and human bite marks all over her face.

The HC said the committee will comprise the presiding officer of the Juvenile Justice Board, representatives of the Central and Delhi governments, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Press Council of India, media and NGOs.

The letter pointed to the media rush to report on Falak and the teenager who allegedly brought the baby to the hospital.

"Media reporting has sensationalized the life of both children in a way, and to such an extent that these children will never be able to get away from the memories of this time," the letter said. The lawyer also argued: "India being a signatory to United Nations Convention on Child Rights is under obligation to ensure protection of law against any unlawful intervention into the privacy of a child or any attack on child's honour."

"The committee will deliberate on the issue and file a report by March 7," the bench said taking note of the central argument of the lawyer that even in the past several reports by media had disclosed details of children and other juveniles even though this is prohibited under law.