Many news outlets are naming the six-year-old daughter of Cleveland kidnapping victim, Amanda Berry.
But should they?
Berry is one of three women who were kidnapped in Ohio between 9 and 11 years ago, and found this week in the Cleveland home of former school bus driver Ariel Castro. Along with the three women, Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, police found a young girl who they say Berry gave birth to after being impregnated by Castro. Castro was charged with kidnapping and raping the three women, and kidnapping the daughter, according to the New York Times.
Even though the daughter’s name is available, media outlets can decide if they will identify the girl or keep her identity private.
The Globe and Mail, for one, issued a public statement that it has decided not to name Berry’s young daughter. Globe and Mail public editor Sylvia Stead reported. According to Stead, the newspaper won’t name her in order to protect her privacy and comply with the family’s request for privacy.
“There is no question that children and others who are vulnerable should be treated with great care,” Stead explained.
iMediaEthics looked at articles by the New York Times and the Associated Press to see if they named the daughter, but we found no examples of either news outlet doing so. We’ve written to both news outlets asking if they have and if they will in the future and will update with any response.
Other outlets, however, have identified the girl, iMediaEthics has found. Below is a sampling:
Oddly, the New York Daily News named the girl but decided to blur her face in a picture of Berry, the daughter, and Berry’s sister.
iMediaEthics has written to ABC News, the Wall Street Journal, the BBC and the Daily News asking why they decided to name the girl. We’ll update with any responses.
Poynter’s Kelly McBride provided several tips for reporting on the rape charges and kidnapping case, as well. For example, McBride advised jouranlists “describe charges of sex without consent as rape, not anything less.”
UPDATE: 5/9/2013 2:29 PM EST: The New York Times’ Phil Corbett, associate managing editor for standards, told iMediaEthics by email: “At this point we do not plan to name the girl or show her picture.”
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