Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) congratulates Saturday Star on its story entitled “Mom locked up for hiding girls from their father” (14/05/2011, p.5). The story is about a mother who was jailed for hiding her children from their father, who she alleged, sexually abused them.
In the article, the journalist Lyse Comins outlined the complex situation facing the justice system of a father accused of abusing his children and a mother arrested for hiding them from him in order to protect them.
MMA commends Saturday Star for protecting the identities of the children in the story. By not naming the children or their parents the article ensured that they were neither directly nor indirectly identified. Saturday Star therefore respected the rights of the children as enshrined in the Children’s Act.
This kind of reporting is also in line with MMA’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media, as adopted by Saturday Star as part of Independent Newspapers which state: “In all stories where identifying the child may cause harm, be sure to avoid indirect identification of the child through showing family, a school, residence, friends or a combination thereof.”
The manner in which Saturday Star reported on the story was also fair and balanced as the article accessed both the parents who are the main subjects of the story. In doing this, Saturday Stardemonstrated awareness of its ethical obligation as outlined in The Press Code of Professional Practice which requires the newspaper to be balanced, fair and truthful in news reporting.
MMA hopes that Saturday Star will continue to practice such good reporting especially on matters that involve children.