Publishing of sexual abuse victims’ names and pictures unethical [Archives:2008/1192/Local News]

September 22 2008

Almigdad Mojalli
SANA'A, Sep. 21 ) The National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms, also known as HOOD, considers the publishing of the names and photos of sexually abused children and women a flagrant violation of their private lives and reputation.

“Publishing the photos and names of [these] people either during evidence collection, investigation or trial processes is considered a flagrant violation of their private lives and reputation,” said Abdul Rahman Barman, a HOOD lawyer, adding that this aggravates the problems faced by victims, especially since they live in a traditional and conservative society.

Barman's comments came last Thursday during a symposium on the Media Circulation of the Names and Photos of the Sexual Abuse Victims, which was organized by the Seyaj Organization for the Protection of Childhood.

He also pointed out that publishing photos and names of victims is a crime that leads to their social destruction among their families and communities, emphasizing that the Yemeni constitution stipulates that the state protects motherhood and childhood.

Barman affirmed that criminal and civil responsibilities with regards to violating the right of privacy in Yemeni law represent two sides of the same coin.

Abdul Bari Taher, the ex-president of the Yemeni Journalists' Syndicate, spoke of the ethics of journalism and of the legislation and laws related to the civil and political rights of individuals. He stressed the potential effect of media in cases such as rape and harassment, and emphasized the necessity of dealing with such cases with sensitivity so as not to further affect the victim.

The head of the Seyaj Organization for the Protection of Childhood, Ahmed Al-Qurashi, stated that the organization has recently received seven notifications of rape, some of which involve children. In two cases, the perpetrator was the father.

Nasr Taha Mustafa, president of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, highlighted the importance of the media in dealing with such issues as crimes which violate the values, morals and stability of society. “There is a deficiency in the press' dealing with such subjects, and no newspaper is interested in addressing the issue of sexual abuse against children, except from a political angle,” Mustafa said