Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) gives a MAD to Sunday Sun for indirectly identifying children in maintenance disputes in two of its articles.
The first article, “[Name withheld] must just man up” (01/04/2018, p.3) reports on a soccer player who is accused of not taking responsibility for his two-year-old daughter. The soccer player is said to be living a “lavish” life while neglecting to take care of his child.
The journalist indirectly identified the child by naming both parents of the child as well as adding pictures of them accompanying the article.
Another article by Sunday Sun, “[Name withheld] not playing ball” (25/03/2018, p.6) reports on a similar issue where another soccer player is accused of similar negligence. It is said that the footballer does not take care for the child’s financial needs. In this instance, Sunday Sun again does not practice caution and indirectly identifies the child involved by naming and adding a picture of her parents.
By indirectly identifying the children in these stories, Sunday Sun subjected them to possible humiliation and embarrassment which may occur as a result of this private issue being disclosed in the public domain without a clear public interest.
This kind of practice fails to promote the best interests of the child as enshrined in Section 28 (2) of our constitution as well as the child’s right to privacy and dignity protected by the Bill of Rights.
We urge Sunday Sun to always act in the best interests of children when reporting on such issues. MMA further emphasises the need for journalists to practise more caution and not subject children to further harm and embarrassment.
By Girlie Sibanda
 A MAD refers to an article where the rights and welfare of children have been compromised through irresponsible media coverage