How viral stories force parents in UAE to relive a tragedy repeatedly

Viral stories, parents, UAE, relive, tragedy, social media, irresponsible media reporting

Sharjah - That's the unimaginable damage irresponsible media reporting creates.


A Staff Reporter

Published: Wed 9 Oct 2019, 4:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 9 Oct 2019, 7:05 PM

When a mother loses a child, no one will ever understand the tragedy she has to live with every day. And yet, she is forced to remember all the harrowing details over and over again, as her story goes viral with every comment and every share on social media.
That's the unimaginable damage irresponsible media reporting creates, according to an awareness video recently launched by the Child Safety Department (CSD), an affiliate of Sharjah's Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA).
The video shows a mother who is constantly tormented by digital media channels that continue to share a horrific drowning incident, which claimed her son's life three months ago.
Targeting journalists, parents, social media influencers and the UAE community, it brings to light the lasting - potentially irreversible - impact that news reporting, photos and other forms of content can have on those projected in media stories.
Hanadi Saleh Al Yafei, director of CSD, said: "We look forward to cooperating with media organisations and relevant government entities, as we continue to direct our efforts to ... ensure the privacy and protection of children and families when they are being referred to in media stories."
The department's reminder was not limited to tragic news of death, it encompasses all other sensitive stories that can undermine a child's or a family's privacy.
"All it takes is a few seconds for breaking news or photos ... to go viral on online platforms. This makes it an obligation for parents, media, and officials to exercise utmost discretion while deciding how they are going to present written or visual content dealing with children's issues.
"We have to consider their impact on children, their friends and families," Al Yafei added.
The initiative
The 'Responsible Media Safe Child' initiative was launched by the CSD in August 2018 under the directives of Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of SCFA.
The initiative aims to reinforce the role of the UAE media in protecting children's rights when reporting children's issues; ensure institutional compliance with national laws and regulations; and improve reporting and accountability standards for violations that have a potential psychological, physical and social impact on the future of children, their families and the community.

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