9. The decision-making point

Gans and Lee waited until they were finished shooting before making their final decision as to whether or not to include footage of the child. The mother’s decision was clear: She was comfortable telling her daughter’s story, and having her daughter’s image be a part of that storytelling process. “I knew [it] was important was […]

7. Other reports of rape in the media

In 2002, the Mail & Guardian reported that a BBC documentary on the topic of infant rape had been condemned by MPs of the African National Congress before it was screened. South Africa’s news24 later reported that after seeing the film, the MPs, many of whom were members of Parliament’s committee on child abuse, actually […]

6. Subject, and friend

Documentary has no established ethical guidelines and the nature of the form—visual, artistic and often implicit in meaning—does not lend itself to rules that are universally applicable. Many filmmakers argue that ethical decisions must be made on an ad hoc case-by-case basis. This was the conclusion of a report from the American University Center for […]

5. Documentary’s edge

While journalistic practice may be governed by publication-based ethical guidelines, documentary films are not subject to the same sort of evaluative criteria during the newsgathering stage.  Documentary production is not regulated and journalist filmmakers are typically independent small business owners who sell their work to distributors, mainly for television broadcast. As independent producers looking to […]

4. Guidelines for filming a child

Gans and Lee did talk with other journalists they knew in making this decision, though they did not consult any one set of ethical guidelines produced by a journalistic organization. Lee argued that most journalism ethics are based on legal practices or on the ethics of the particular news agency, and noted that they didn’t […]

2. Informed Consent

Informed consent is a term used more often in health-care or psychology than journalism, but it can be helpful term to consider when getting consent to interview, or report about children. Informed consent means that the doctor, or journalist in this situation, explains what is happening, why it is happening and what the potential consequences […]

1. Perspectives

A mother’s limits Alice believed sharing their story would help remove the stigma attached to rape. Prior to filming, she had given public talks and spoken to both the South African and international press. Alice was comfortable sharing her daughter’s story, but unsure about including footage of her daughter in the film. However, she permitted […]