OPM slams children's photos online after Nicki Minaj visit

Nicki Minaj speaks to media and young girls at the St Jude's Home for Girls in Belmont, Port of Spain, on Thursday. - Sureash Cholai
Nicki Minaj speaks to media and young girls at the St Jude's Home for Girls in Belmont, Port of Spain, on Thursday. - Sureash Cholai

THE Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) is reminding the public to follow the national child policy on using videos and pictures of children on media platforms.

This came after TT-born US-based rapper Nicki Minaj visited the St Jude's Home for Girls in Belmont on Thursday, and a now-deleted Facebook post by Barrington "Skippy" Thomas involving the Prime Minister and a child.

A press release issued on Friday morning said, "The OPM wishes to appeal to the public and the media to respect children's rights, dignity and safety.

"We all have a role to play as guardians in ensuring that our children's rights to privacy are promoted and protected."

It said coverage on social media of Minaj's visit to the home violated children's privacy.

It referred to Article 16 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which says, "No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation."

Section 81(6) of the Children Act says, "No person shall publish the name, address, photograph or community residence where the child is placed or anything likely to lead to the identification of the child before the Court, save with the permission of the Court or in so far as required by this act."

Speaking with Newsday on Friday, acting deputy manager of St Jude's Deoraj Sookdeo said local media had not breached the policy.

Minaj's team was also taking photos and videos of the children, but Sookdeo said they were briefed on TT's laws and were made aware that the faces of the children cannot be shown.

"The communications person who was with her was briefed about that and the legislation. They even had put up flyers in the room for all of the media persons and spoke to them about it."

He said the rules had been explained on more than one occasion.

"As far as I'm aware, all of the local media houses had conformed to that. None of them showed the girls' faces.

"They just wanted to make sure people were reminded. The ministry was concerned about that."

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