GUIDE TO RAPE REPORTING

Laws and voluntary guidelines representation of rape victims in media channels With so many sexual assault and rape cases coming in to light every day and media coverage growing manifold, The Hoot has compiled the laws and guidelines for the journalists reporting such cases.
Posted/Updated Thursday, Sep 26 11:53:26, 2013
Q. SHOULD A RAPE VICTIM BE IDENTIFIED?

A. No.

1. Under the Indian Penal Code, it is an offence punishable with up to 2 years imprisonment, with or without a fine.

Exceptions under IPC: [1] [nos. refer to references below]

a) unless a police officer conducting the investigation authorises it in good faith

b) unless the victim authorises it in writing.

or

the next of kin of the victim authorises it.

2.Under the press laws guide of The Press Council of India Journalistic Conduct Norms:

No names to be published or disclosed, no photographs to be used, no particulars leading to identity of victim to be published.

(While reporting crime involving rape, abduction or kidnapping of women/females or sexual assault on children, or raising doubts and questions touching the chastity, personal character and privacy of women, the names, photographs of the victims or other particulars leading to their identity shall not be published.) [2]

3. Identify with utmost care (Editors Guild) [3]

Q. SHOULD CHILD VICTIMS BE IDENTIFIED?

A. No

1. Minor children and infants who are the offspring of sexual abuse or ‘forcible marriage’ or illicit sexual union shall not be identified or photographed. (Press Laws Guide, The Press Council of India Journalistic Conduct Norms) [2]

2. With regard to minors, victims of rape and sexual crimes greatest care should be taken to protect their identity. (Ministry of Information & Broadcasting) [4]

3. The fundamental guideline for the media with regard to reporting on sexual violence against children, is to protect the identity of the child. (National Human Rights Commission) [5]

Q. ARE THERE SPECIAL RULES FOR PRINT/TV MEDIA?

A. Yes.

1. The audio-visual presentation of any content will be given in a responsible and aesthetic manner, subject to the condition that the following shall not be included in these three categories: Category ‘U’, Category ‘U/A’ and Category ‘A’. (Ministry of Information & Broadcasting) [4]

2. Use suitable techniques such as masking blurring, changing names or identities etc., particularly in the cases of minors, victims of sexual violence or dreaded diseases like HIV/AIDS or natural or other disasters unless there is an identifiable larger public interest involved. (Indian Broadcasting Federation) [6]

3. Electronic media should not to show visuals or details which could “re-traumatise” the victims or reveal their identities. (News Broadcasting Standards Authority) [7]

4. Where any proceedings are held under sub-section (2)*, it shall not be lawful for any person to print or publish any matter in relation to any such proceedings, except with the previous permission of the court. (Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973) [8]

Sub-section (1): The place in which any Criminal Court is held for the purpose of inquiring into or trying any offence shall be deemed to be an open court to which the public generally may have access, so far as the same can conveniently contain them

* Sub-section (2): Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), the inquiry into and trial of rape or an offence under section 376, section 376A, section 376B, section 376C or section 376D of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) shall be conducted in camera.

Q. SHOULD THE VICTIM’S FAMILY BE IDENTIFIED?

A. News channels should not to show any visuals of the funeral or even shots of the deceased’s home or family. Channels have been asked to not air interviews with any relative.

(The Broadcast Editors’ Association) [9]

Q. SHOULD THE PERPETRATORS BE IDENTIFIED?

A. The alleged criminal and the victim and the witnesses must be identified with utmost care, with no implications of caste or religion. Only on the strongest grounds of public interest, should any of these considerations be diluted. (The Editors Guild of India) [3]

Q. WHAT ARE THE GUIDELINES ON RESPECTING THE PRIVACY OF VICTIMS?

A.

1. A journalist shall not invade the privacy of an individual especially during time of grief or stress. A journalist shall respect an individual’s private life unless it is in the public interest or the public’s right to know. (Mizzima journalists) [10]

2. No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. (Article 21 of the Constitution) [11]

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References

[1] As per Section 228 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) relating to disclosure of identity of the victim of certain offences etc, anyone who reveals or does an act that may reveal the identity of a rape victim is liable for punishment up to two years with or without fine. The exact citing of the section is:

i228A. Disclosure of identity of the victim of certain offences etc.— (1) Whoever prints or publishes the name or any matter which may make known the identity of any person against whom an offence under section 376, section 376A, section 376B, section 376C or section 376D is alleged or found to have been committed (hereafter in this section referred to as the victim) shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine.“Respect privacy. A journalist shall not invade the privacy of an individual especially during time of grief or stress. A journalist shall respect an individual’s private life unless it is in the public interest or the public’s right to know.”

(2) Nothing in sub-section (1) extends to any printing or publication of the name or any matter which may make known the identi­ty of the victim if such printing or publication is—
(a) by or under the order in writing of the officer-in-charge of the police station or the police officer making the investigation into such offence acting in good faith for the purposes of such investigation; or

(b) by, or with the authorisation in writing of, the victim; or

(c) where the victim is dead or minor or of unsound mind, by, or with the authorisation in writing of, the next of kin of the victim:

Provided that no such authorisation shall be given by the next of kin to anybody other than the chairman or the secretary, by whatever name called, of any recognised welfare institution or organisation.

Explanation:
For the purposes of this sub-section, “recognised welfare institution or organisation” means a social welfare institution or organisation recognised in this behalf by the Central or State Government.

(3) Whoever prints or publishes any matter in relation to any proceeding before a court with respect to an offence referred to in sub-section (1) without the previous permission of such Court shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation
The printing or publication of the judgment of any High Court or the Supreme Court does not amount to an offence within the meaning of this section.

CLASSIFICATION OF OFFENCE

Para I
Punishment—Imprisonment for two years and fine—Cognizable—Bailable—Triable by any Magistrate—Non-compoundable.
Para II
Punishment—Imprisonment for two years and fine—Cognizable—Bailable—Triable by any Magistrate—Non-compoundable.
Comments
Name of victim to be suppressed
Section 228A of I.P.C. makes disclosure of identity of victim of certain offences punishable. Printing or publishing of any matter which may make known the identity of any person against whom an offence under section 376, 376A, 376B, 376C or 376D is alleged or found to have been committed can be punished. True it is, the restriction does not relate to printing or publication of judgment by High Court or Supreme Court. But in view of the social object of preventing social victimization or ostracism of the victim of a sexual offence for which section 228A has been enacted, it would be appropriate that in the judgments, be it of Supreme Court, High Court or lower court, the name of the victim should not be indicated; State of Punjab v. Ramdev Singh, AIR 2004 SC 1290.

[2] The Press Council of India Journalistic Conduct Norms
(2010 edition; http://presscouncil.nic.in/norms-2010.pdf) prohibit the visual representation or photograph of not just the victim, but also her family or relatives to avoid identification. The exact citation is:

6. Right to Privacy

ii) Caution against Identification: While reporting crime involving rape, abduction or kidnap of women/females or sexual assault on children, or raising doubts and questions touching the chastity, personal character and privacy of women, the names, photographs of the victims or other particulars leading to their identity shall not be published.

iii) Minor children and infants who are the offspring of sexual abuse or ‘forcible marriage’ or illicit sexual union shall not be identified or photographed.

iv) Intrusion through photography into moments of personal grief shall be avoided. However, photography of victims of accidents or natural calamity may be in larger public interest.

Further, Section 8 about recording interviews and phone conversation states that: “iii) Intrusion through photography into moments of personal grief shall be avoided. However, photography of victims of accidents or natural calamity may be in larger public interest.

[3] A Code of Practice for Journalists (http://vimarshaki.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/code-of-practice.pdf) issued by The Editors Guild of India states that “In reporting crime, particularly crimes of sex, and more so crimes involving children, utmost care should be taken to see that the report itself does not become a punishment, which may blast a life without warrant.

The alleged criminal and the victim and the witnesses must be identified with utmost care, with no implications of caste or religion. Only on the strongest grounds of public interest, should any of these considerations be diluted.

[4] According to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB)’s Self-Regulation Guidelines for the Broadcasting Secto (Draft2008;
http://www.mib.nic.in/writereaddata/html_en_files/Codes/codes_bro/ContentCode100308.pdf):
Audio – Visual Presentation: The audio visual presentation of any content will be given in a responsible and aesthetic manner, subject to the condition that the following shall not be included in these three categories: Category ‘U’, Category ‘U/A’ and Category ‘A’.
Further, the MIB content code that applies to DD, AIR and private broadcasters, as well, states that “With regard to minors, victims of rape and sexual crimes greatest care should be taken to protect their identity.”
[5] The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Guidelines for Media on Sexual Violence Against Children (http://www.nhrc.nic.in/Documents/Publications/MedGuideChild.pdf):

“According to the Indian Constitution, every citizen has the right of freedom to speech and expression. But these rights have restrictions. The fundamental guideline for the media with regard to reporting on sexual violence against children, is to protect the identity of the child. Under Section 21 of the Juvenile Justice Act (Care and Protection of Children), 2000, publishing, disclosing the name, address, school or any other particulars, photographs, etc., which can identify the child, is prohibited.

Section 228 A IPC punishes whoever discloses by printing or publication the identity of the victim of a rape.

Section 293 IPC prohibits the sale, hire, exhibition or circulation of obscene books, print material, figures to persons under 20 years.

Section 327 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code prohibits any reporting of a court case that deals with the sexual exploitation of a child, without the specific permission of the court.”

The NHRC has now proposed that these guidelines be extended to all rape victims, regardless of age (http://nhrc.nic.in/Documents/recomm_verma_committee_2012.pdf)

[6] Indian Broadcasting Federation’s (IBF’S) Content Code & Certification Rules 2011 (http://ibfindia.com/pdf/1337260899.pdf)

Short title, extent and commencement. – This Code and Rules may be called the Indian Broadcasting Foundation “Content Code & Certification Rules 2011 (hereinafter the IBF Content Code 2011)”, as approved and adopted by the board of Indian Broadcasting Foundation. It shall extend to all general entertainment and non-news and current affairs television channels operating in India. It shall come into effect on the date as notified the by Board of the IBF Reveal the identity of an individual or his family or location of his home or fail to protect the privacy of his personal or private activities by failing to use suitable techniques such as masking blurring, changing names or identities etc., particularly in the cases of minors, victims of sexual violence or dreaded diseases like HIV/AIDS or natural or other disasters unless there is an identifiable larger public interest involved.

About audio –visual presentation, the IBF’s voluntary code states that “ The audio visual presentation of any content will be given in a responsible and aesthetic manner, subject to the condition that the following shall not be included in respective categories below:

Category “G” i.e. programmes for unrestricted viewing and/or under parental guidance:

— Show explicit images of sexual activity or sexual perversions or violence including rape, molestation etc.

Category “R” i.e. programmes which may not be suitable for children & young viewers:

— Show explicit images of sexual perversions or acts of sexual intercourse being performed. Show explicit images of violence including rape, molestation etc., unless the storyline, or subject matter or context justifies its use.

[7] The News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) chaired by former Supreme Court Chief Justice J S Verma recently issued following detailed guidelines to broadcasters for reporting cases of sexual assault. NBSA urged electronic media not to show visuals or details which could “re-traumatise” the victims or reveal their identities:

1. News channels must bear in mind that news coverage of crime influences the mindset of the viewer and has a significant impact on the public perception of such crime.

2. In reporting on matters involving sexual assault, news channels are advised to carefully balance the survivor’s right to privacy and that of the survivor’s family with public interest.

3. News channels must ensure that no victim of sexual assault, violence, aggression, trauma or a witness to any such acts, is featured in any news report or program, relating to such victim, without concealing the identity of such person. In conformity with this principle any visuals shown of the victim must be completely morphed.

4. In reporting on cases of sexual assault on women, victims of child abuse and juvenile delinquents, to respect their privacy, the name, photograph and other details that may lead to disclosure of their identity or that of the family shall not be broadcast or divulged.

5. News channels must exercise sensitivity, discretion and sound judgment particularly in the following cases:

5.1. When disclosure of details of the sexual assault would only serve to re-traumatise the survivor;

5.2 When details of the sexual assault are needed to be disclosed to secure a safe environment;

6. News channels must take special note of the provisions of Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code 1860 and of Section 21 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 which provide for protection of the identity of victims of sexual offences and of juveniles in conflict with the law.

[8] As per the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPc), rape trial proceedings be held “in-camera trial”, meaning there must be very few people permitted inside the court room during the trial and shall be only those who are connected to the incident, like the accused, police, judge, lawyers of the case, experts like a forensic doctor, witnesses, if any. The exact citing is:

(1)ii The place in which any Criminal Court is held for the purpose of inquiring into or trying any offence shall be deemed to be an open court to which the public generally may have access, so far as the same can conveniently contain them:

Provided that the presiding Judge or Magistrate may, if he thinks fit, order at any stage of any inquiry into, or trial of, any particular case, that the public generally, or any particular person, shall not have access to, or be or remain in, the room building used by the court.

iii(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), the inquiry into and trial of rape or an offence under section 376, section 376A, section 376B, section 376C or section 376D of the

Indian Penal Code

(45 of 1860) shall be conducted in camera:

Provided that the presiding Judge may, if he thinks fit, or on an application made by either of the parties, allow any particular person to have access to, or be or remain in, the room or building used by the court.

(3) Where any proceedings are held under sub-section (2), it shall not be lawful for any person to print or publish any matter in relation to any such proceedings, except with the previous permission of the court.]

[9] After the highly-publicised Delhi gang rape case, The Broadcast Editors’ Association issued detailed guidelines to ensure that the privacy of the victim’s family is respected. In its guidelines, the editors’ body has asked news channels not to show any visuals of the funeral or even shots of the deceased’s home or family. Channels have been asked to not air interviews with any relative.

The BEA said that information about arrival of body and funeral can be provided, but the location of the funeral should not be made public. It also asked channels not to show shots of arrival of the body and not to chase the funeral van.

[10] A Code of Ethics was adopted by Mizzima journalists in Delhi, India on October 1, 2004, states that:

“Respect privacy. A journalist shall not invade the privacy of an individual especially during time of grief or stress. A journalist shall respect an individual’s private life unless it is in the public interest or the public’s right to know.”

[11] Constitutional Framework of Privacy

The right to privacy is recognised as a fundamental right under the Constitution of India. It is guaranteed under the right to freedom (Article 19) and the right to life (Article 21) of the Constitution. Article 19(1) (a) guarantees all citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression. It is the right to freedom of speech and expression that gives the media the right to publish any information. Reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right can be imposed by the State in the interests of sovereignty and integrity of the State, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence. Article 21 of the Constitution provides, “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.” Courts have interpreted the right to privacy as implicit in the right to life.

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Goddamn particle became God particle?

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It’s time for everyone to stop calling the Higgs boson the “God Particle”. For one thing, it seems to have been publisher’s trick to boost sales of a physics book by Leon Lederman (here at UC) and Dick Teresi. As theTelegraph reports,

Lederman wrote in the book “God particle”: “This boson is so central to the state of physics today, so crucial to our final understanding of the structure of matter, yet so elusive, that I have given it a nickname: the God particle.

“Why God particle? The publisher wouldn’t let us call it the Goddamn particle, though that might be a more appropriate title, given its villainous nature and the expense it is causing.”

But Higgs himself doesn’t like this:

The 83-year-old scientist, who lives in Edinburgh, insisted the reference was not funny and was actually misleading.

He came up with the theory of a subatomic particle, since dubbed the Higgs boson, which would explain the mystery of how things have mass.

But the professor wants people to stop referring to it as the “God particle” because he does not believe the particle holding the physical fabric of the universe together is the work of one almighty creator.

According to Prof Higgs, the nickname actually started as a joke, adding that it was “not a very good one”.

It’s not surprising that a godless person (and future Nobel Laureate, I suspect) would be ticked off that the particle he predicted should get a name that smacks of divinity:

Prof Higgs, explained his distaste for the term in a BBC Scotland interview. He said: “First of all, I’m an atheist.

“The second thing is I know that name was a kind of joke and not a very good one. I think he shouldn’t have done that as it’s so misleading.”

 

All about Phailin

A big wave smashes into a breakwater at a fishing harbour in Jalaripeta in the Visakhapatnam district in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh October 11, 2013. Tens of thousands fled their homes in coastal areas of eastern India and moved to shelters on Friday, bracing for the fiercest cyclone to threaten the country since a devastating storm killed 10,000 people 14 years ago. REUTERS/Stringer (INDIA - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)

A big wave smashes into a breakwater at a fishing harbour in Jalaripeta in the Visakhapatnam district in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh October 11, 2013. Tens of thousands fled their homes in coastal areas of eastern India and moved to shelters on Friday, bracing for the fiercest cyclone to threaten the country since a devastating storm killed 10,000 people 14 years ago. REUTERS/Stringer (INDIA – Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)

Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Phailin is a tropical cyclone in October 2013 that has affected Thailand, Myanmar and the Indian states of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
The system was first noted as a tropical depression on October 4, 2013 within the Gulf of Thailand, to the west of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
The system was subsequently named Phailin (Thai meaning “sapphire”) on October 9, after it had developed into a cyclonic storm and passed over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands into the Bay of Bengal.

Why are tropical cyclones named?
• Tropical cyclones are named to provide easy communication between forecasters and the general public regarding forecasts, watches, and warnings.

• The first use of a proper name for a tropical cyclone was by an Australian forecaster early in the 20th century. He gave tropical cyclone names after political figures he disliked.

• During World War II, tropical cyclones were informally given women’s names by US Army Air Corp and Navy meteorologists (after their girlfriends or wives) who were monitoring and forecasting tropical cyclones over the Pacific.

• From 1950 to 1952, tropical cyclones of the North Atlantic Ocean were identified by the phonetic alphabet (Able-Baker-Charlie-etc.), but in 1953 the US Weather Bureau switched to women’s names. In 1979, the World Meteorological Organization and the US National Weather Service (NWS) switched to a list of names that also included men’s names.

• The Northeast Pacific basin tropical cyclones were named using women’s names starting in 1959 for storms near Hawaii and in 1960 for the remainder of the Northeast Pacific basin. In 1978, both men’s and women’s names were utilised.

• The Northwest Pacific basin tropical cyclones were given women’s names officially starting in 1945 and men’s names were also included beginning in 1979. Beginning on 1 January 2000, tropical cyclones in the Northwest Pacific basin are being named from a new and very different list of names.
• These newly selected names have two major differences from the rest of the world’s tropical cyclone name rosters. One, the names by and large are not personal names. There are a few men’s and women’s names, but the majority are names of flowers, animals, birds, trees, or even foods, etc, while some are descriptive adjectives. Secondly, the names are not allotted in alphabetical order, but are arranged by contributing nation with the countries being alphabetised.

• The Southwest Indian Ocean tropical cyclones were first named during the 1960/1961 season.

• The Australian and South Pacific region (east of 90E, south of the equator) started giving women’s names to the storms in 1964 and both men’s and women’s names in 1974/1975.

• The North Indian Ocean region tropical cyclones are being named since October 2004.

Names reused every six years

• Atlantic and Pacific storm names are reused every six years, but are retired “if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of the name would be insensitive or confusing,” according to forecasters at the US National Hurricane Center in Miami.

• Hurricane Sandy was the 77th name to be retired from the Atlantic list since 1954. It will be replaced with “Sara” beginning in 2018, when the list from 2012 is repeated. Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season that hit the US last year.

Migrants’ water graveyard

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PICTURE CAPTION: Migrants arrive at Hay Wharf in Valletta aboard a patrol boat of the Armed forces of Malta on October 12, 2013, a day after their boat sank. Courtesy AFP PHOTO/MATTHEW MIRABELLI

The second migrant boat tragedy has happened on Friday. A week after at least 339 people drowned off Lampedusa, now at least 27 people have feared drowned when a boat carrying more than 200 migrants capsized in the same location.

Reports say people on board had crowded to one side of the boat, causing it to capsize, as they tried to get the attention of a passing aircraft.

The tragedy involving African migrants, mainly from Eritrea, off the tiny island of Lampedusa could and should have been prevented, like the countless other deaths that have occurred over the last years in those waters.

According to reports published in media, nearly 20,000 people have died since 1988 along southern European borders, making the Mediterranean a true graveyard for migrants.

I feel that the international community should admit the inadequacy of what is a unilateral, temporary and often repressive approach to mobility.

The migration question has certainly not been resolved by governments militarising borders further or criminalising undocumented immigrants. Many countries treat the undocumented migrants as illegal, even though UN says clearly that human being should not be called so.

Let us come back to Italy. I have read that such policies have been particularly harsh in Italy, where politicians have built their identity and electoral success on fear of foreigners.

The news reports say that in 2009 the Berlusconi administration started a policy of push-backs of people in need of protection, a measure condemned by the UN and by the European court of human rights in Strasbourg.

That Italian government went on signing agreements with the late Muammar Gaddafi to prevent African migrants fleeing Libya.

In 2008 the so-called “security package” law turned undocumented migrants into criminals as well as their traffickers.

Apparently all those measures have ended up encouraging trafficking by criminal organisations, while discouraging open water rescue for fishermen, who fear being accused of aiding and abetting.

Three years on, those regulations are still in force, despite the fact that two governments have followed.

Even when the current Italian deputy prime minister, Angelino Alfano announced a national day of mourning, he did not dare question Italy’s immigration law and tried to shift the blame on Europe’s failing asylum system.

However, anti-immigrant Italian politicians are not the only ones at fault.

Cecilia Malmström, European commissioner for home affairs, has vowed Europe will step up its effort to prevent these tragedies and took the opportunity to promote the Eurosur project and its “smart borders” policy.

The €340m project aims to track and identify small vessels at sea, but actually the whole idea is based on the “externalisation” of the borders, with some hi-tech smart tools and further patrolling by the European border agency Frontex.

It remains to be seen in what ways these projects are different from the one Malmström started with Gaddafi in 2010. That allocated €50m to ensure greater control of the southern border of Libya in the desert, out of sight of Europe.

So why do Eurocrats keep investing in security measures?

Why don’t they focus on a shared asylum policy, on serious multilateral agreements between transit and receiving countries, on building search-and-rescue capacity in the Mediterranean, on the full respect of the right to international protection?

Europe cannot go on sealing its borders and pretending not to see what’s going on in the south, especially in still-troubled Northern Africa, and in a continent with growing poverty, along with a food and health crisis.

Increasing social conflicts inevitably result in harsher repression by authoritarian regimes and therefore in further asylum-seekers, just like the Eritrean young men and women who drowned in Lampedusa.

Tail end: A recent World Bank report says that Africa’s economy is booming. Some countries even are having growth rate which is higher than the developing countries. So, why are people leaving Africa? Why they want to risk their life? Do they feel that taking up the risk of sailing in troubled water is much better than staying back in their own country?