Srinagar: The Child Welfare Committee(CWC) of Srinagar has taken a strong action against some media outlets for disclosing the identities of child victims on social media platforms.
CWC has requested the media fraternity (including all digital, print media association, social media influencers etc) not to disclose the identity of any child as it is an offence against children.
“Failing which, this Committee shall initiate action against the violator under the relevant sections of the Law of the land,”the official communique reads. The provision of Section 74 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 prohibits disclosure of identity of children, which is also applicable in case of disclosure of identity of a deceased minor.
Under Section 74 of the law, any disclosure of the name, address, school, or any other identifiable information regarding a child in conflict with the law or a child in need of care and protection, as well as child victims or witnesses of a crime, is strictly prohibited. Chairperson of the Child Welfare Committee, Dr Khair ul Nissa, expressed deep concern over the adverse consequences faced by the victims.
She emphasised that such actions could subject these children to severe mental trauma and social stigma, potentially destroying their futures. " By disclosing the identity of a child victim on social media platforms or any other medium, they face mental trauma in future. Even stigma is also attached to it. We cannot tolerate destroying the future of our children by disclosing their names, faces and locations. Some people use these victims to get personal benefits. We will take strict action against it," she said.
The Chairperson further highlighted the difficulties faced by some child victims in their educational institutions due to the disclosure of their identities. “Many were compelled to change schools to escape the associated stigma and discrimination,” she said. She further said that the Police shall not disclose any record of the child for the purpose of character certificate or otherwise in cases where the case has been closed or disposed of.
“Any person contravening the provisions of sub-section (1) shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or fine which may extend to two lakh rupees or both. The action as warranted under the above said section, is being initiated against the above-named agencies and before doing so, an opportunity of being heard or producing their defence is being provided to them. The concerned are directed to remove the video from their social media handle immediately,” the official communique reads.