APPEAL of the Ombudsperson of Azerbaijan regarding violations of children’s rights in the media

According to the investigations carried out by the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Azerbaijan, breach of the requirements of the legislation are observed related to juveniles in the media by media subjects and journalists.

Thus, in the materials published or broadcast by many media subjects about juveniles, there are cases of revealing personal information of those persons, including photos or videos. In addition, the materials published by some media subjects in the form of sensational news with their participation, harming the interests, life and health of children in order to attract a large audience, are particularly regrettable.

According to Article 5 of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On Children’s Rights”, state bodies, all individuals and legal entities must prioritize the interests of children in their activities and create conditions for ensuring their rights.

According to Article 15 of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On Media”, it is not allowed to disseminate any information about the identity of juvenile suspects, accused or victims by media subjects and journalists without the consent of those persons and their legal representatives.

In addition, in that law, the importance of complying with the requirements stipulated in the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On the Protection of Children from Harmful Information” during the publication and broadcasting of information in the media was determined.

Abuse of freedom of activity and journalistic rights in the field of media, i.e. dissemination of information prohibited by law or disclosure of the source of information in cases not permitted by law, leads to liability established by legislation.

Broadcasting of materials that may endanger the life and health of children, may cause them to commit suicide, and the inclusion of personal information about children in such materials is unacceptable.

In this regard, media subjects and journalists must pay attention to the possible consequences before disseminating any material related to children and respect the child’s personal and family life, honor and dignity.

The content of the prepared material should not contradict the rights and freedoms of children and should be used in accordance with their legal interests. In addition, conditions should be created for the circulation of information products that are safe for children and ensure their comprehensive development and socialization.

Taking into account the above, I call on media subjects and journalists to prioritize the interests of children and show a sensitive approach in disseminating information about children when they carry out their professional activities.