Courts will now view the revelation of children’s identities by the media while covering criminal cases very strictly.
The Delhi high court on Wednesday tightened norms for media reporting in cases involving children.
The order came keeping in mind the brazen manner in which the identity of the two-year-old battered child, who died while fighting for her life at AIIMS, and other minors involved in the case was revealed by the media.
The court also took serious note of the recent trend of revealing the identity of rape victims and those involved in trafficking and other organised crimes.
Accepting a slew of guidelines submitted by a court-appointed committee, a bench of acting chief justice AK Sikri and justice RS Endlaw ordered its immediate implementation.
"The media must balance its responsibility to protect children from unsuitable content with the right to freedom of expression and the right to know," the panel said.
"The media shall ensure that a child’s identity is not revealed in any manner, including disclosure of personal information, photograph, school or locality and information of the family including their residential or official address," it said.
The committee, comprising principal magistrate of the Juvenile Justice Board, a member of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, representatives of an NGO, and a nominee from the Press Council of India, said that the media should keep in mind children’s privacy, dignity, physical and emotional development while covering any news involving them.
"Due consideration must be given to a child’s right to privacy, and to prevent the child from being exposed to anxiety, distress and social stigma," the panel said.
The court move came on a PIL filed by lawyer Anant Asthana, who questioned the revelation of the name and details of the minor girl who had brought the two-year-old battered baby to AIIMS and was being probed by the Child Welfare Committee.