The mainstream media coverage of the the Swiss Embassy employee who was allegedly kidnapped and later released has come under criticism for unethical behavior. Many pro government media has published the victims photograph without her consent.
She appeared before the Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) for the 3rd day today reports Colombo Gazette.
Even before the judicial process comes to an end Defence Ministry Secretary Maj. Gen. (retd) Kamal Gunaratne said passed his judgment on the case. “No CID team or any law enforcement unit of this country had abducted the Swiss Embassy employee. It is a totally fabricated allegation,” he has said speaking at the Army Headquarters on 9 December.
President’s Counsel Upul Kumarapperuma appearing on behalf of the alleged victim informed the Magistrate that his client had been checked by foreign and local doctors attached to the Swiss Embassy. PC Upul Kumarapperuma further pointed out that two doctors mentioned in their medical report that the victim had been allegedly sexually abused and assaulted. The two doctors also mentioned that the alleged female victim had been suffering from a mental health condition, reported Daily News.
Media ethics on reporting sexual assaults and victims of such crimes are very clear that their identity should not be published.
Victims of sexual assault
The Code bans editors from publishing information which might identify a victim of sexual assault. Journalists must not identify these people or publish information which might lead to them being identified. This might include publishing details such as their age, occupation, address, or details of the alleged crime (like the relationship between the defendant and the victim). People who are victims of other crimes are not offered this protection.
Number of working journalists in Sri Lanka has openly criticised the unethical reportage and journalists behavior in relation to victimised Swiss Embassy official.
One of those days I am ashamed to call myself a journalist. These photographers and video cameramen had absolutely no respect for media ethics. It was all about trying to expose the face of the woman https://t.co/28ADCkCwcL via @YouTube #Srilanka #lka
— Easwaran ‘Easy’ Rutnam (@easwaranrutnam) December 9, 2019
Absolutely! I am shocked beyond belief after seeing the pictures in the front pages of every newspaper this morning. The media in this country knows next to nothing about #mediaethics @Dailymirror_SL @DailyNews_lk @TheIsland @virakesari_lk @Thinakkural1 #presscomplaints #lka
— Abraham Sumanthiran (@MASumanthiran) December 10, 2019
You could expect not media but a gang of men who run holding cameras, & do videos to uncover a victim 🚺 's face the best possible way they could do. They only call themselves media.Then you see paralized policemen keep watching the scene. Victim & witness protection? mere words https://t.co/BahMkfd3E7
— Ishara Danasekara (@IsharaDanasekar) December 10, 2019
We are being naive expecting any kind of ethics from one section of the media here.They thrive on other people’s misery&are lapdogs of their equally sick paymasters.We saw how they showed the body of the little girl was raped & murdered some time ago so this is nothing for them https://t.co/VUTuN8ZBlI
— Chandani Kirinde 🇱🇰 (@ChandaniKirinde) December 10, 2019