Indian media houses apologise for revealing identity of Kathua rape victim

Some media houses in India on Wednesday apologised before the Delhi High Court after it issued notices to them for revealing the identity of an eight-year-old alleged rape victim in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir. The court also directed them to pay $15,231 each to the Jammu and Kashmir Victim Compensation Fund. Advocates representing media houses said the mistake happened because of ignorance of law and a misconception among journalists that they could name a rape victim after she is dead. The court said there are long-term repercussions to the victim’s family, especially if there are other women in the house. Under rules governing protection of children from sexual offences, any person who discloses the identity of a child victim could be awarded a minimum six months imprisonment, the court said. It directed media houses to give wide and continuous publicity to the statutory provisions of law regarding privacy of victims of sexual offences and punishment for revealing their identities. The court said the issue of social media being used as a tool to commit similar offences will be taken up at a later stage.