Crying boy evokes apologies from TV2

The head of TV2 regrets a feature with a crying child at Copenhagen's airport after returning from the conflict in Lebanon

It was a mistake to run a news story featuring a crying boy who had just returned from the conflict in Lebanon, said the head of TV2, Per Mikael Jensen on Monday.

'It was a feature that crossed the lines of what we should show. I could imagine a situation where we interview a 10-year old boy about what he had experienced in a war situation, but not under these circumstances where the boy clearly had problems managing the situation,' Jensen told daily newspaper Urban.

The feature, which aired on TV2's evening news on 17 July, showed a 10-year old boy talking about what he experienced in Lebanon with tears streaming down his cheeks.

Jensen's statements counter comments made by TV2's managing editor, Jacob Nybroe, over the weekend defending the feature.

Nybroe had defended the decision to air the piece after criticism from the National Board of Health's director Jens Kristian Gøtrik. Gøtrik said the exposure could lead to a more intense trauma reaction to the events that could have long lasting psychological consequences.

Jensen did acknowledge that the news programme had not done anything wrong as they had received parental consent, but said airing the piece was morally wrong. He said the station would avoid such reports in the future.

In cooperation with Michael Dyrby, the news director of TV2, Jensen said the procedure to screen and approve potentially sensitive reports will be streamlined to avoid a similar situation in the future.

Oluf Jørgensen, a lecturer in media law at the Danish School of Journalism said the promise to screen future reports is a positive one.

'It's positive that TV2 is taking the issue seriously and will ensure that each sensitive report is approved before being aired,' Jørgensen said to daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende.

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