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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Anti-VAW cmte urges media to protect children in anti-trafficking ops

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)—Ensuring child protection at all times, the Regional Inter-Agency Committee Against Trafficking, Child Pornography, Violence Against Women and their Children (RIACAT-CP-VAWC)-10 together with Balay Mindanaw convened members of the press to emphasize protocol during anti-trafficking operations, December 9.

“The protocol on reporting and coverage of cases involving children targets to ensure the protection of the rights of child victims of abuse, violence, and exploitation,” said Marylou Aniñon, RIACAT-VAWC lead secretariat.

She added that the protocol also highlights the roles and responsibilities of government agencies and partners, from reporting or referral of child abuse case until its termination, and in ensuring that child victims are dealt with in a most child-sensitive and appropriate manner. 

In handling cases, Aniñon said confidentiality should always be observed and this includes usage of alias (e.g., Minor AAA vs. Juan dela Cruz), protecting information from barangay to court level, restricting media coverage in rescue operations, and use of color-coded case folders. 

Based on the guide for media practitioners on the reporting and coverage of cases involving children, identity of a child victim of abuse, witness or child in conflict with the law (CICL) should not be disclosed. No information that would lead to the identity of the child or any member of his/her family should be published or broadcast.

Also, photos, images or video footage of the face or any distinct feature or information of a child including his/her family members must not be taken, published or shown to the public in any manner. 

Añinon added that disclosure of any private or graphic detail of the case, including the medico-legal findings, in public, is a violation of confidentiality provisions under the law. 

In conducting interviews, Aniñon reminded the media that such activity should be conducted only when the child interviewee is assisted by a psychologist or a social worker known to the child. 

Media is also urged to undertake investigative journalism and to report on violations of children’s rights, and other issues relating to children’s safety, privacy, security, education, health and social welfare and all forms of exploitation and discrimination. 

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