English | Dzongkha Friday, September 21, 2018

Naming & shaming of suspects is unconstitutional: Judges

Phub Gyem, Thimphu
Jun 27, 2017

Judicial officials said naming and showing pictures of crime suspects are against the Constitution. They shared this legal perspective at the ongoing workshop for Judiciary and Media in Thimphu. 

Her Royal Highness Princess Sonam Dechan Wangchuck graced the first day of the conference yesterday.

Drangpon Pema Wangchuk who is the Director General of Bhutan National Legal Institute said, “Going by the rights enshrined in the constitution and in other legislations, I would directly say that media houses will not have right to name and shame the suspect. We have to complete due process of law.”

Some media professional echoed the judiciary’s opinion. They also felt it is unethical on the part of the media houses to name and reveal pictures of a person alleged to have committed crime unless he/she is accused of being a threat to the national security.

“That person is innocent until proven guilty by court. When a suspect’s name and photo is published, it is not solely the suspect who is affected. His or her family will also be affected,” said Tashi Dema, an Editor from Kuensel, the national newspaper.

However, some other journalists begged to differ. They said it is of no offence to publish the story as long as the information is factual and accurate. Otherwise waiting for court judgment would take time to run the news piece.

Legal officials and reporters also discussed about the misconceptions regarding contempt of court. Code of ethics for journalists was another important topic which dominated the discussion. The conference ends today.

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