The editorial mistake of the portal compromised the safety of the beaten boy

Workshop Be an editor

Clicks are more important than children’s well-being – the portal removed only the video, but not the photo that reveals the boy’s identity

An article entitled “A video trying to cover up! The case that horrified Osijek: Who beat Matej? ” This is one of the examples of how children should not be portrayed in the media. The article was published on 13 November 2019 on the portal. Having been given the task of finding an example of a violation of journalistic ethics, I found the mentioned article on the website of the Croatian Journalists’ Association (HND).

The photo and video attached to the article revealing the identity of the boy beaten at the Dinamo-Osijek match on 27 October 2019. The source of the information is a report from a reader. The article and video horrified the principal of the boy’s school, so she turned to HND. If the editor had done his job respecting the Code of Honor of Croatian Journalists, he certainly would not have attached the boy’s photo and video next to the article. An editor should be familiar with the code of his profession, which states, among other things, that “any procedure that directly or indirectly reveals the child’s identity as inadmissible, i.e. that a child must not be interviewed and its photos must not be published without his consent and without the presence and consent of a parent or guardian”. It also states that the welfare of the child is superior to the public interest and that the disclosure of the child’s identity is prohibited “regardless of whether the child or minor is a witness, victim, suspect or defendant ”.

The mentioned allegations are part of Article 19 and Article 20 of the Code of Honor of Croatian Journalists. The HND Honor Council wrote that these articles of the Code were undoubtedly violated by the publication of the photo and video. I fully support the opinion of the Council of Honor and the school principal and I think that the goal of publishing the boy’s photo and video content was not to “raise awareness about the consequences of violence”, as Mark Cigoj, editor of the portal, claims. It seems more likely to me that the ultimate goal of this article is to have as many clicks as possible. The sensationalist title and the fact that the reader’s report was not checked at all from other sources lead to such a conclusion. Finally, it should be mentioned that the HND Honor Council issued a warning to the portal and suggested that the portal remove the content by which the victim is identified and exposed to the general public. However, as can be seen HERE

, the portal only partially acted on the suggestion of the HND Council of Honor. The video within the article is no longer available, but the photo of the beaten boy is still within the article. /Petra Kušec/

Original article is published in school digital magazine Klinček

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