Child rights lobby groups take on media in court

Lobby groups are fighting for media protection of child crime victims identity once they turn 18. Currently the law states that once a child turns 18 they may be named in the press.

The Centre for Child Law (CCL), Childline SA, the National Institute for Crime Prevention and Reintegration of Offenders and Media Monitoring Africa are taking on the country’s major media groups in the Pretoria High Court. Thursday morning saw the start of the application by these groups.

The groups are embroiled in a legal battle over the protection of the anonymity afforded to child victims and offenders.

EWN's Barry Bateman explains.

What the law says is that child offenders, as well as witnesses in court proceedings and witnesses to crime, may not be identified in the media. What they are asking for here is that that protection be extended to victims of crime as well.

Barry Bateman, EWN reporter

This was sparked by the Zephany Nurse case in the Western Cape who was kidnapped at birth and found when she was 17. The media wanted to disclose her identity once she turned 18.

The groups argue that the potential harm to the victim does not just disappear once they become an adult at 18-years-old.

Take a listen to Barry Bateman explain why the child rights groups are pushing forward to change the law:

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