Guidelines for reporting on children
- Do not further stigmatize any child; avoid categorisations or descriptions that expose a child to negative reprisals - including additional physical or psychological harm, or to lifelong abuse, discrimination or rejection by their local communities.
- Always provide an accurate context for the child's story or image.
- Always change the name and obscure the visual identity of any child who is identified as:
a. A victim of sexual abuse or exploitation;
b. A perpetrator of physical or sexual abuse;
c. HIV positive, or living with AIDS, unless the child, a parent or a guardian gives fully informed consent;
d. Charged or convicted of a crime.
- In certain circumstances of risk or potential risk of harm or retribution, change the name and obscure the visual identity of any child who is identified as:
a. A current or former child combatant;
b. An asylum seeker, a refugee or an internal displaced person.
- In certain cases, using a child's identity - their name and/or recognizable image - is in the child's best interests. However, when the child's identity is used, they must still be protected against harm and supported through any stigmatization or reprisals.
- Some examples of these special cases are:
a. When a child initiates contact with the reporter, wanting to exercise their right to freedom of expression and their right to have their opinion heard.
b. When a child is part of a sustained programme of activism or social mobilization and wants to be so identified.
c. When a child is engaged in a psychosocial programme and claiming their name and identity is part of their healthy development.
- Confirm the accuracy of what the child has to say, either with other children or an adult, preferably with both.
- When in doubt about whether a child is at risk, report on the general situation for children rather than on an individual child, no matter how newsworthy the story.