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NDTV, Zee, Times of India fined for identifying minor

August 23, 2005 01:56 IST

Two prominent television channels and a national English daily have been held guilty of revealing the identity of a minor boy by a Juvenile Court in Delhi, which said they tried to sensationalise the case for 'commercial gains'.

The case pertains to the multimedia messaging service clip that had two students of a Delhi school in a sexual act.

"NDTV, ZEE TV and The Times of India had contravened Section 21 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, which safeguards the delinquent's identity, privacy and confidentiality, by revealing minute details about the boy while reporting the case," Juvenile Justice Board Principal Magistrate Santosh Snehi Mann said in her 31-page order imposing a fine of Rs 1,000 each on them.

Terming the role of the press in reporting the incident as "very disappointing", the court felt the focus of the three organisations was less on raising a debate about the exposure and involvement of children in some unethical or illegal activities and the stress was more on creating a sensation by writing about the juvenile involved in the incident.

It said their reporting was in 'bad taste to increase circulation and viewership purely for commercial gains'.

Taking strong exception to disclosure of the name, address, school and other facts about the juvenile, the court said these would lead to the identification of the juvenile, his isolation, thereby exposing him to the stigma from which he needs to be protected under the Act."

The juvenile and the school where he studied had moved separate petitions in the court on December 12, last year complaining about the manner in which the entire incident was

being highlighted by these media organisations.

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