Coverage of Juvenile Issues by TV Channels

The Public Defender echoes the broadcasting company Rustavi 2’s program - Nanuka Zhorjoliani’s Show and Imedi TV’s program - Gia Jajanidze Show, which concerned the issue of juveniles who are the so-called “emo” kids and members of “morgue”.

The problems voiced in the program are important and it is necessary relevant state agencies to ensure adequate response to them in order to protect child's rights and best interests. At the same time, the Public Defender considers that it is necessary to protect the ethical and legal standards while covering juvenile issues, especially with their participation.

Article 17 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes the right of the child to have access to a variety of national and international sources of information and materials. In accordance with Article 37 of the Broadcaster's Code of Conduct, broadcasters are obliged to ensure protection of minors from harmful influence. The same Code stipulates that broadcasters should not broadcast material, which may lead to anti-social behavior or encourage or incite crime. The code also specifies the factors which must be considered when making decisions on coverage of violence and which may increase the emotional impact of violence on the audience. These factors include pain, infliction of damage or unusual or sadistic methods of killing, as well as the cases when victims of violence are children. It should be noted that the mentioned programs focused on the physical description of the children, their clothes, etc. This kind of description creates the risk of stigmatization, which may reinforce stereotypical attitudes of a certain part of the society and cause aggression towards the children. At the same time, in both programs the places where children gathered were more or less identifiable. Also, one of the reports showed detailed footage of physical injuries of the children.

Based on the above, the Public Defender considers that the media has a special role in protecting the rights of the child. He calls on broadcasters to cover each of the mentioned problems in compliance with the international and national legislations, standards and ethical norms, in order to identify the problems in terms of protection of the rights of the child. All this, first of all, serves the best interests of children and their protection from harmful influence.

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