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Media Law lecture -- Reporting on Children and Young Persons

Missed questions for this/last week. Did you get them? Post in comments, please!

  • Who is a child?
  • 17 and below (in civil court and criminal court)
  • First interaction will be in the youth court.
  • Age 10 is age of mental capacity for committing a crime. Under 10s cannot be convicted of crimes.
  • The law: 10/17/18
  • Under 10s cannot be convicted.
  • Will be in youth court under 17.
  • Can be published about over 18.
  • Industry regulations:
  • Those at school
  • Those in school have a right to be left alone by the media.
  • Under 16
  • Can't interview about anything.
  • 16 and 17
  • Hard news -- care should be taken, parental permission sought before interview
  • Soft news, celebrity news, etc. -- probably less necessary.

Children in the criminal courts

  • Prior to proceedings
  • Ofcom and PCC — care has to be taken if identifying child under 18.
  • Youth Court
  • §47 Children and Young Persons Act 1933
  • Public barred from proceedings, but journalists not.
  • No identification of any child involved with proceedings. Breeching is a criminal offense.
  • §49
  • When can be lifted
  • To avoid an injustice to the child
  • Child has been given an opportunity to contest the disclosure

Crown Court

  • Serious cases will be transferred — i.e., murder
  • §39 Children and Young Persons Act 1933 -- discretionary order banning publication of name, address, school, etc.
  • Judges will ordinarily apply.
  • Identification doesn't mean just not naming — also means not giving sufficient detail so that not to identify that person.
  • Can be lifted
  • Children "concerned in the proceedings"
  • "Salt poisoning" case — child involved in the proceedings but not concerned.
  • Although child might be affected by the fact father/mother/etc. is involved, should not hinder open justice.
  • I.e., party to the proceedings — not merely related.
  • Those who turn 18
  • §39 automatically lifted when child turns 18.
  • Dead children
  • §39 can't be applied.
  • Young babies
  • Less reason to impose §39 than for someone who can read.

Children as victims of sexual offenses

  • Shouldn't be identified -- Sexual Offences Amendment Act 1966
  • Jigsaw identification — don't give sufficient details.
  • Never identify it as incest as that inherently points to a family member.
  • Adult may be identified so long as relationship between victim and defendant not identified.
  • "a serious sexual offense" used in place of "incest".

Industry regulations

  • Interviewing those under 16 — consent needed
  • At school — the right to be left alone
  • Children of celebrities
  • Should not be reported unless there's some justification other than the parent is famous or parent has taken child to, say, a premiere.
  • Murray v Big Pictures
  • Children as viewers
  • The watershed
  • Not glamorising drugs, crime