MACEDONIA: Just a written warning for TV interview with raped child

The Broadcasting Standards Council of Macedonia will issue a written warning to TV station Sitel, because of a breach in programme principles and failure to keep its duty to protect the privacy and dignity of a 15 year-old girl, the victim of family violence, who spoke about being molested and raped by her father without protection of her identity.

“After analysing the broadcasted material, the Council established that an unprofessional treatment of a very sensitive subject took place, whereas the identity of the minor was not protected at all for the whole duration of the show. The media has breached the very programme principles that should be the foundation of programmes broadcasted, included in Article 68 of the Law for broadcasting activity, the obligation to protect the privacy and dignity of personality. Because of all this the Council will issue a written warning to this medium” said Borce Manevski, spokesman for the Broadcasting Standard Council.

He added that, unfortunately, the law for broadcasting activity does not allow criminal penalty for such cases. The BSC has prepared amendments to the law.

TV Sitel's editor-in-chief said that the broadcasting of the interview with the girl was conducted according to regulations.

“I think that the right thing has been done with this broadcast, both by the girl and TV station. Since there has been no reaction from her parents or legal guardians, then that broadcast is OK” said Dragan Pavlovik – Latas, editor-in-chief of TV Sitel.

A spokesman for the Ombudsman, Uranija Pirovska, said that they had not received a legal notification for the case, but that what had been done was not appropriate given the girl's age.

“For years we have been emphasising the fact that the children’s identity has to be protected. What’s been done is not correct, because we are talking about an under-aged girl. The parents or legal guardians now have the right to sue the TV station, since now there is a greater risk for her safety” says Pirovska.

The First Children’s Embassy “Megjashi”, after reviewing the recording of the show, said it was obvious that the girl was in need of support and help, but that this had to be done in an appropriate manner, by an expert team of psychologists and social workers and not by publicly displaying her on TV.

They also said that a public interview with a victim of violence represents a recurring trauma for the victim, and exposes them to future harm.

“The First Children’s Embassy in the World encourages child victims to speak about violence, but such interviews should be conducted in “screening rooms” and not in front of the TV cameras. This is for the purpose of avoiding further victimising and trauma of the child. Family violence, just like any other form of abuse and violence represents a traumatic experience for the child-victim that often has permanent consequences” said a spokesperson.

Reported by: Netpress

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