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What the ConCourt ruling means for the media reporting on children

NGOs, led by the Centre for Child Law, won their challenge to have the identities of minor victims of crime protected, even after they turn 18.

Miché Solomon. Picture: NB Publishers

JOHANNESBURG - Media Monitoring Africa said Wednesday’s Constitutional Court judgment will hold journalists to a higher standard when it comes to reporting on children who’ve been victims of crime.

NGOs, led by the Centre for Child Law, won their challenge to have the identities of minor victims of crime protected, even after they turn 18.

The Constitutional Court has found a section of the Criminal Procedure Act is unconstitutional and has ordered that it should be amended.

The woman at the centre of this case is Zephany Nurse. When she was 17 years old, she discovered that she had been kidnapped as a baby.

She turned to the Centre for Child Law for help in 2015, fearing that her identity would be made public once she turned 18.

The Constitutional Court ruling means if a minor has committed an offence or is a victim of crime, they cannot be named in the media without permission, even once they turn 18.

Media Monitoring Africa's William Bird said: “Unless the person who is 18 gives permission or unless a court gives permission, you cannot name them.”

Parliament has been given 24 months to remedy the law.

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