– Child Care and Protection Agency condemns newspaper’s use of photograph
The Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security has observed “with absolute disgust” the publication in the Guyana Chronicle, of images of children involved in sexual acts and on social media.
The image was carried on the front page of the state-owned newspaper, and as if that was not disgusting enough, a larger portrait was plastered on an inside page.
The Ministry, through its Child Care and Protection Agency, noted that these acts have exposed a tremendous need for more to be done by parents, teachers and our society as a whole to ensure that our children understand and practice moral values that would prevent them from making poor decisions.
But according to the Ministry, some sections of the media sought to exploit this issue in the press and shared images that have gone viral.
“The recent media report in the Guyana Chronicle edition of October 7th, 2014, will also serve to unsettle other children. Imagine their sense of diminished pride and the glaring suspicion that everyone around them must be aware of this most sordid affair!” the Ministry said in its statement issued yesterday.
The racial identities of the children, the school they attend and the compromising acts being performed are obvious in the images, and such, the Ministry posited that the lives of the children involved as well as their families are certainly in turmoil over the unfortunate situation.
This is compounded by further humiliation as a result of the publication of these images both on the internet and in the print media.
“The impact of such an action will affect their self esteem, and may have serious consequences upon their lives in the future. The Ministry through the Child Care and Protection Agency unequivocally condemns such irresponsible behaviour from media operatives who ought to know better. Media personnel have continuously received training on the ethics of journalism, the legal implications and the importance of safeguarding the identity and integrity of our children.”
The Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security and the Child Care and Protection Agency have called on the Guyana Chronicle to publicly apologize for the publication of these images and “urge everyone associated with the electronic publication of these obscene images to desist from doing so”.
It said that the dissemination of these images have negatively impacted upon the efforts and progress made with respect to child protection in Guyana, adding that the upgrading of Guyana’s laws to cater for electronic and cyber crime is much needed to address such issues.
Guyana is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which clearly addresses the issue of human rights of children.
Article 17 of the Convention delineates the responsibilities of mass media organizations, including ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of children and adolescents.
Similarly, Article 34 speaks of the need to “protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation…”
“Our local laws also clearly state acceptable standards for media publications of sexual content. It is therefore appalling that these have been blatantly ignored by media personnel, particularly the Guyana Chronicle newspaper. Every Guyanese, including members of the media, have a duty and a responsibility to protect our children. We must take this responsibility seriously!”
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