7 News scolded for coverage of sexual assault allegation

7 News scolded for coverage of sexual assault allegation

Tonight, Channel 7’s News Director, Jules Vasquez, has come under scrutiny after airing a story on a woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted by medical professional.  The National Women’s Commission, the Special Envoy for the Development of Families & Children, and the Ministry of Human Development and Families fired off a letter to Vasquez and has threatened to seek further action from the broadcasting authority.  The organizations say that 7 News’ coverage of the sexual assault went too far when the news piece re-victimized the woman and released sensitive details of what the victim described in her complaint.  The very strong-worded letter reads, in part, quote, “The public broadcast of intimate details of what was done to the alleged victim is offensive, unprofessional, irresponsible and as well totally unacceptable. It further revictimised the complainant who penned feelings of horror, shock, violation, and trauma in the very report you so purposely exposed.” End of quote.  The letter goes on to say that while the media plays a crucial role in sharing information, sensitive information that has a direct impact on the victim should be reportedly responsible. The organizations also stated, quote, “In your insatiable quest for sensationalism you have entirely ignored the journalistic ethics you should have as a media practitioner. ….As a consequence, we are going to seek the advice of the Belize Broadcasting Authority as to their further involvement in providing guidelines and regulations for media coverage in instances such as these.” End of quote.  The letter was signed by Minister Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Rosanna Briceno and Thea Garcia-Ramirez./

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