Human Rights body condemns airing of sexual escapade at St Rose's

Stabroek News
December 9, 1999

The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) has condemned the airing by a television station of a video tape showing two children of St Rose's High School in a compromising position.

Mike McCormack, co-president of the GHRA, in an invited comment to Stabroek News said that "looking at this from the perspective of protecting children it is in our view totally unacceptable behaviour by the media. Given the fact that this was incidental to what was being filmed [a protest by teachers], it should not have been aired. There was no regard for the reputation of the children involved or the consequences of the airing.

"It is just another example of the media behaving as though they are not bound by ethical or professional standards. In our view a responsible use of the material would have been to take it to the school's headmistress and to let her take appropriate action.

"This incident reflects a confusion or lack of values in the media and the wider society, and the media is obligated not to pander in airing such lascivious material with no news value."

McCormack observed that while media houses show footage of go-go girls and accept advertisements with lurid content, children are expected to observe higher standards whilst absorbing the same messages. This smacks of hypocrisy.

"In the last year we have received many complaints of the sexual abuse of children," said McCormack, "and with this in mind it only increases our indignation over the handling of this incident." (William Walker)

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