Thursday, 20 December 2012

Privacy not Publicity

There are no links in this post. I do NOT want you to read the articles I am referring to. I want you to ignore them.

How, I wonder, have we arrived at a situation in which national broadcasters and newspapers feel able to name very young children who are the subject of civil court action or even, in one case, a child of FIVE, who is subject to disciplinary action by his infant school? His name and photographs are plastered all over the pages of a leading tabloid.

In another case a national broadcaster seems quite relaxed about naming a seven year-old child whose medical care is the subject of a High Court action. All the medical details are being aired in public.

I don’t care whether the parents of these children or the courts or whoever has given permission for the children to be named. The private business of young children should never be aired in public in such a way that the child can be identified. How is a five year-old or a seven year-old going to feel looking at the ‘press cuttings’ in 20 years time? And who might be keeping those press cuttings for future reference – neighbours, schools, police, future employers? The list is endless!

We need to reassert the sensible and humane rule that always seemed to apply in the past. Children whose cases may be of public interest should never be named or otherwise identified.