By Demion McTair. Updated 5:55 p.m., Wednesday, March 8, 2023, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
It is perhaps common knowledge that the name, photograph, or any details that could link readers to the identity of a child in a sexual case should not be published.
Equally important though is that the name of a child that is alleged/accused of committing a criminal act should not be published by the news media.
Who is considered a child and why shouldn’t his/her name be published in news media reports purporting him/her as an accused/alleged criminal?
Who is considered a child?
A child, defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child is “every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.”
A minor, defined by the Law of Minors Act CAP 232 of the Laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is “a person under the age of eighteen (18) years.”
Why won’t we publish his/her name if he/she is on a criminal charge?
It comes down to ethics and a little bit of international law, namely Article 40 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines became a signatory to this convention on 20 September 1993. The convention was ratified on October 26, 1993.
Article 40 (2) (b) (vii) states that every child alleged as or accused of having infringed the penal law be guaranteed “To have his or her privacy fully respected at all stages of the proceedings.”
Though international law is seen as merely persuasive, unless enshrined in local laws, the fact that the country is a signatory to such a convention is enough to influence a media house’s decision to operate within the spirit of the convention and uphold the rights of a child.
Here is the full UN Convention on the Rights of a Child
This article does not seek to provide legal advice. Where required and appropriate, this piece will increase our readers’ media literacy regarding our coverage of issues involving minors.