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Protecting our children

  • The right thing to do is to report the incident to the police and not to share the video on social media sites.

Sin Chew Daily

The video of a young man molesting a seven-year-old girl in Sungai Petani has gone viral on the social media. The culprit has since been arrested by the police.

Many may not be aware of the fact that the person who took the video has also violated the law.

According to Section 19 of the Sexual Offenses Against Children Act 2017, a person found guilty of not providing information on a child abuse case or reporting it to the police could be fined. Additionally, uploading or sharing the video is an offense chargeable under Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 Section 233 for transmitting offensive contents.

Perhaps the person who took the video did so with the purpose of helping the victim by imparting public awareness of the incident. Nevertheless, the right way of helping the girl should be immediately stopping the culprit from inflicting more harm on the victim or lodging a police report, not taking the video and sharing it on the social media.

As a matter of fact, uploading the video has done irreparable damage to the young girl psychologically, as her face was not blurred out and her identity fully exposed to the public.

Even though the video has since been deleted, screenshots of it could have been taken and circulated in the social media, casting a permanent shadow over the young girl's heart for the rest of her life.

Very often in our tech-savvy age, a well-intentioned move could prove to be a destructive one, especially when an avid social media user records anything that catches his or her eyes with a smartphone camera and then share the video on social media sites. They should have instead offered timely assistance to the victim and prevented the tragedy from taking place wherever possible.

Many might argue that the video could be used as evidence of crime when filing a police report, but to children rights groups, the videos could very likely be exploited by irresponsible individuals or organizations for child pornography.

Minors need the protection of adults. If we see that a child is being abused or bullied, we must do our utmost to prevent him or her from getting hurt.

In any court case involving minors, the victims' particulars will be withheld, and the hearing conducted behind closed doors for their protection.

Social media has been widely used by people to voice up their grievances and as a public scrutiny tool. Unfortunately when things go out of control, the self esteem of innocent individuals, in particular underage children, could be sacrificed.

The appropriate way of sanctioning the culprit is bringing the case to the police and not sharing the video on the social media.

While it is a duty for a civic-minded citizen to make sure justice is done in any act of injustice, the self esteem and privacy of the victims must never be undermined in whatsoever way.

 

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