Flanagan concerned at publication of child images
FG chairman says children have right to privacy under Constitution and UN Convention
Charles Flanagan, a TD for Laois, has said he was concerned at the publication of images of one of the children from the two affected families in the media. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times
Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan has written to the Press Ombudsman, the Data Protection Commissioner and the Children’s Ombudsman expressing his concern at aspects of some of the media handling of the Roma child issue.
Mr Flanagan, a TD for Laois, said he was particularly concerned at the publication of images of one of the children from the two affected families in the media.
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The right to privacy was one of the grounds invoked by Mr Flanagan, saying children enjoyed that right under the Constitution and Article 16 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“It may well be assumed that parental consent was forthcoming, but such consent may not sufficiently justify publication,” he said.
“Privacy is a human right and must be respected. Under Principle 9 of the Press Council-agreed code of Practice, regard must be had for the vulnerability of children and this respect must be adhered to whether or not parental consent was sought or given.
“My point being that even if consent was granted, it may not be sufficient to warrant publication.”
The second ground of concern raised by Mr Flanagan was whether the publication of the images was in the public interest or not.
“While the matters of the story may well have been in the public interest, I question the publication of the image of the child being in the public interest. Sensitivity must be observed.”
He said he had written today to all three agencies asking for their views on these issues.“The importance of respecting a child’s right to privacy is vital when considering the health and welfare of children,” he said.