VIETNAM: Youth Protection Services Please!

YVONNE EPPS WRITES- Stories about children exposed to domestic violence or other abuses are shocking to read about, but as journalists we don’t want to add insult to injury.

Thanh Nien News has been prolific in exposing the Vietnamese media’s abuse of child rights, specifically, incidents where the media breaches their privacy. They report that many newspapers have been violating children’s rights to privacy when they are victims of domestic violence and rape. Information like uncensored photos and home addresses have been published to inflate the shock factor of these stories, but at the expense of the child victims.

In a follow up report, Thanh Nien News reports that the problem stems from reporters’ general lack of respect for children and inexperience with writing children’s issues stories. The trend of sensationalism and the belief that stories concerning children are the easiest to write promote these unfortunate turn of events. A discussion of raising awareness of child rights across the media and parents is started, but at the end of the conversation, the responsibility lies on the journalist to protect the individuals they report on, especially the impressionable youth.

Unfortunately, the topic has only come up on the Thanh Nien News spectrum. The issue has not surfaced on other outlets, so the media is turning a blind eye to these issues given its reported track record. No matter the culture, children should be protected from defamation and harassment that the media exposes them to. By staying silent about it, Vietnamese media is disrespecting its own youth.

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