Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) applauds Daily Sun for its article, “I’ll be the next serial killer!”(17/05/2013 p.1&2) and therefore gives it a GLAD1 for meticulously protecting the identity of a six-year-old rape victim.
The journalists, Dimakatso Modipa and Margaret Mlangeni, relate how the parents of the young girl found out that she had been raped at crèche. The report also gives a detailed account of how opening a case at the police station initially proved to be difficult for the girl’s parents as they did not get much help. The article does this all the while protecting the child’s identity. This was commendably done by not naming her and her parents.
By protecting the child’s identity, the article conforms to MMA’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles on Reporting on Children in the Media which condones the protection of children’s identities especially when they are victims of abuse and witnesses in legal proceedings.
The image of the little girl showing her back, also demonstrates the extra effort made to protect the child’s identity. The caption of the picture clearly states, “By law she [the child] cannot be identified”, by mentioning this, the journalists went an extra mile and thereby adhered to both the Criminal Procedure Act as well as the South African Press code which states in Section 8.3, “The press shall not identify children who have been victims of abuse, exploitation, or who have been charged with or convicted of a crime, unless a public interest is evident and it is in the best interests of the child.”
What also stands out about the article is that the child was not accessed or interviewed, and thus not made to relive the trauma she went through.
The article is also very informative as it points out the difficulties people have to face when reporting a rape case, and it further spells out the whole process thereby educating the reader.
MMA commends Daily Sun, and more especially Dimakatso and Margaret for following proper steps when reporting on a vulnerable child.
1.On a weekly basis, MMA highlights cases of good practice, where the media has promoted the rights and welfare of children, otherwise referred to as “GLADs”, as well as instances where the rights and welfare of children have been compromised through irresponsible media coverage, referred to as “MADs”↩
In response to the commentary, the Daily Sun’s journalist, Dimakatso Modipa, Margaret Mlangeni as well as the Daily Sun’s Pretoria bureau chief, Chris Steyn, said:
“Thank you very much.”