11 March 2009

Are we protecting the children or the Government?

| johnboy
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The ABC has a story on worries that new laws in the ACT, ostensibly protecting children’s privacy, could be used by the Government to cover its arse when it’s failing those children.

    The laws stop media outlets identifying children subject to a protection order or legal proceedings even after they have died.

    The media industry’s Right to Know Coalition says the new laws will make it harder for the media to expose cases of child neglect that have led to death.

If you think this can’t happen cast your mind back to Amanda Vanstone using “privacy” protections to shut down questioning on people her department had illegally locked up.

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Clown Killer7:02 am 18 Mar 09

This is indeed an interesting matter.

I was reading in last weekends CT that the enterprising young chap who killed Clea Rose with a stolen car in the Civic bus interchange was back before the courts again last week. Having served his sentence, he was apparently keen to make up for lost time. The CT article indicated that his identity may never be publically widely known as the new laws placed a 99 year ban on publishing or broadcasting his name (even if he was to die of old age).

It’s a balancing act, isn’t it? Exposing the weaknesses and failings of child protection services is critical if we’re to ensure a properly accountable system – sometimes the public need to know is more important than having a right to know. Personalising such failures can often make the public care more, which is just what the other children living in out-of-home care need. A caring community demands accountability.

But sometimes naming the dead can have unfortunate consequences for the living, particularly if there are young siblings around – they can really suffer under public scrutiny. The system can become paralysed with fear, which can seriously impede decision-making for other children. And parents/family who can be silenced by these orders can suffer in their absence, being blamed for events over which they may have had no control whatsoever…

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