HC warns media against publishing identity of juveniles accused in cases

ByStaff Correspondent

On Tuesday, Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Rajik-Al-Jalil announced the verdict with an observation following the hearing of a writ petition.

The petitioner cited a report published in The Daily Star in November to file the appeal.

“The Daily Star has made an offence by publishing the name, address and identity of the child and by choosing improper words in the report,” the court said in its observation.  

The court did not impose any punishment on the newspaper because of the novelty of the issue, but warned that these offences must not be repeated.

It also ordered the media to remain alert that the identity of children in conflict with law is never published.   

The key objective of the Children Act is to ensure their privacy during trial, which include the period prior to the trial and after it. Their privacy should be maintained so that they get the opportunity to correct themselves, according to the verdict.

The Daily Star published a report titled “Boy gets 10 yrs for killing classmate” on Nov 5 last year. The report published the identity of the boy.

Barrister Syed Sayedul Haque Suman filed a writ petition with the High Court on Nov 18 last year saying the report is in conflict with the law.

He sought an order to stop the media from publishing the identity of a child accused in a case under trial in the Juvenile Court.

The writ petition also pleaded for a rule asking why there will be no order to stop publishing the identity of the child.

The law secretary, the ICT secretary, the chief of the Law Reporters’ Forum, the president of Dhaka Reporters’ Unity, the chairman of Bangladesh Press Council, the president of National Press Club and the editor of The Daily Star were defendants in the case.