Legal Awareness Watch (LAW) hosted a session on sensitization of journalists in Lahore. The session was concluded with an urge to make juvenile justice committees across Pakistan and rest of the parts of Pakistan operational and active to resolve cases of children in conflict with the law on petty nature. Since the promulgation of juvenile justice Act 2018 juvenile justice committees across Punjab to date have not been made operational, said Sarmad Ali, Director LAW. Children found involved in petty nature violations of penal law to be resolved through diversion i.e., non-penal sanctions those listed in the Act 2018. Moreover, the media personnels while reporting instances involving children ought to consider the non-disclosure of identity as warranted under the Act, he further added.
Ali reiterated the fact that the media ought to remember that “juvenile rights” are “human rights.” He expressed his disappointment at the way stories relating to juveniles are reported. The rights of the child and his/her identity are important, he said, while urging media in receipt of information relating to juveniles to be careful how it is reported. He added “use the power of the pen and the book, or the camera to bring positive change to the environment pertaining to the implementation of the juvenile justice Act which was introduced to safeguard the best interest of the children in conflict with the law across Pakistan” he said. The participants and media personnels pledged that to in interviewing (and reporting on) children, special attention to each child's right to privacy and confidentiality, to have their opinions heard, to participate in decisions affecting them and to be protected from harm and retribution.