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The Press Council Took Note of Violations of the Rights of the Child in the Media

06 October 2017
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The Press Council (PC) at its meeting on Friday, October 6, took note that some media outlets violated the journalists’ Code of Conduct in terms of the rights of the child, accuracy of information and its verification by means of two independent sources.

Thus, the National Coalition „Life Without Domestic Violence (CNPAC) filed two complaints to the PC, one against the Publika TV station and one against the Curaj.tv portal. According to CNPAC representative Rodica Coretchi-Mocanu, the “Moldova, Country of Wonders” [Romanian “Moldova, țară de minune”] program in its edition of September 24 on Publika TV presented the situation of three children who were victims of violence, one of them suspected to be victim of sexual abuse.

Coordinator of psychological assistance programs Rodica Coretchi-Mocanu said at the PC meeting that she had been asked to give an interview in that program and, on that occasion, she drew the Publika TV reporter’s attention to the need of avoiding the publication of the real names of parents and children, of their place of residence, and of other data that could lead to the children being easily identified, labeled or stigmatized.
The station’s editorial office disregarded these recommendations and violated article 4.1 of the Code of Conduct, according to which “the journalist must respect the right to the private life and dignity of persons; article 4.11, “the journalist shall not disclose the identity of victims of accidents, calamities, crimes, especially sexual assaults”; and article 4.13, which states, inter alia, that “video recordings and photographs must be modified in order to protect the identity of minors.”

PC members recommended Publika TV to re-edit the text and video of the program in question in compliance with deontological norms, and asked the Broadcasting Coordinating Council to take note of this case.
In the second complaint, CNPAC asked the PC to take action towards the Curaj.tv portal “for unprofessional and abusive approach” to the subject of the material titled “Kidnapped and Raped at 14 by 6 Men in the North,” published on August 23, 2017. In its response to PC, Curaj.tv explained that the author of that material is not a professional journalist, but simply an author for Curaj.tv blog, and justified the appearance of the interview on the portal by the fact that he had suspected “an attempt by law enforcement to cover up the rape.” PC members found violations of articles 4.1, 4.11, 4.13, 4.15 of the Code of Conduct and recommended Curaj.tv to remove that material from the website.

At the same meeting, the PC also examined other complaints. Businessman Andrei Magalu notified the PC as a victim of a denigration campaign and manipulation of public opinion in the newscasts of Publika TV, Prime TV and Canal 3 televisions and of Publika FM radio, where they aired a material taken over from a clone website, jurnalul.md. Press Council members found violations of articles 2.1, 2.2, 2.5 of the Code of Conduct, according to which the journalist should present information in an honest and balanced manner and only after having taken steps to verify it, that he should ask for the opinion of all relevant parties, and that information should be verified by means of two independent sources. They recommended to the applicant to demand the stations that spread the news to grant him the right to reply.

In the case of the complaint filed by the periodical “Glasul Națiunii” against the portal Timpul.md, the Press Council found violation of the same articles 2.1 and 2.2 of the Code of Conduct. The representatives of the two media outlets were not present at the meeting.
The Press Council also took note of a material that appeared on Kp.md: “Human ‘Bombs’ Walking Around Chisinau” [Russian “По Кишиневу ходят люди – „бомбы””]. According to PC members, it is contrary to the spirit of ethics and deontology and uses a language that is unacceptable for a material intended for press. PC members recommended the editorial office to remove the material from the website, as they found it offending.