Aug 22, Colombo: Sri Lanka's media has a vital role to play in addressing the growing problem of child abuse in the country and the media should be careful not to tread ethical and legal guidelines , Secretary of the Mass Media and Information Ministry Dr. Charitha Herath said.
Addressing a forum held yesterday (August 21) to initiate a dialogue on how to prevent child abuse, Dr. Herath said preventing child abuse has become a timely need in current society and in this context, the media that shapes public opinion has a vital role to play.
The forum under the theme "Realizing the rights of the child- A collaborative approach" was organized by the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) in collaboration with the Save the Children International.
"At present reporting on crime and child abuse have drawn the attention of society. When we are reporting on these things we should be careful not to tread on ethical and legal guidelines", Dr. Herath explained.
At the forum, the NCPA Chairperson Anoma Dissanayake launched a handbook for journalists on Child Abuse Reporting and presented the first copy to Dr. Herath.
Dr. Herath said no country can be a developed country without treating their adults and children in a proper way.
"Though they reach their development goals or report a high GDP rate they will never become a developed country without properly treating the adults and children," he stressed.
According to the Department of Probation and Child Care Services over 90,000 children island wide have become vulnerable to various abusive situations. Available statistics in 2011 report 1,085 cases of child rape and 1,503 child molestation and abuse cases.
"At present, we are on a fast track towards development and today we have to face an economic and technology conflict. In such a situation, the secure of children can be challenged on many fronts," Dr. Herath said.
"But we know how to handle these things in a balanced way", he added.