Media information on a missing child should be kept to a minimum

Dear Editor,

The Childcare and Protection agency wishes to once again reaffirm its position regarding media reporting on matters involving children.

We acknowledge the role that the media plays in notifying the public of a missing child and therefore aiding in the recovery of the child. However, this must be executed in a professional manner that does not increase the child’s vulnerability. Information needed to notify the public of a missing child should be kept to a minimum and revolve around the child’s physical description, last seen attire and location.

The publishing of news stories that reveal the issues the child may be facing at home or other salacious details, though sensational and satisfying for some curious readers, places the already vulnerable child at a disadvantage and exposes them to embarrassment and further harm. Media operatives along with the general public all have a responsibility to the children in our society and should always ensure that our actions are in their best interest and intended to protect rather than harm.

Though there is no ill intention, journalists must be cognisant of the influence of the media and therefore the colossal responsibility that comes with this position. The Childcare and Protection Agency alone cannot protect children and we therefore rely on all society to play a part.

Yours faithfully,

Stacey Fraser

Deputy Director Children Services

Childcare and Protection Agency

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