The child abuse reporting guideline compliance in Korean newspapers

Serim Lee, Jieun Lee, Jong Serl Chun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The rate of child abuse has sharply increased worldwide, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the media's role in addressing child abuse cases is crucial, several international and formal organizations have established child abuse reporting guidelines. This study investigated how closely journalists follow reporting guidelines in addressing child abuse cases. Five major Korean presses and 189 articles from January 1, 2018, to January 31, 2021, were selected using the keyword “child abuse.” Each article was analyzed using a guideline framework consisting of 13 items regarding the five principles of the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare and Central Child Protection Agency reporting guidelines. This study identified a radical growth in media reporting on child abuse cases in South Korea; almost 60% of the articles analyzed came from 2020 and 2021. More than 80% of the articles analyzed did not provide abuse resources, and 70% did not provide factual information. 57.1% of the articles instigated negative stereotypes, and about 30% explicitly mentioned certain family types in the headlines. Nearly 20% of the articles provided excessive details about the method used. Approximately 16% exposed victims’ identities. Some articles (7.9%) also described victims as sharing responsibility for the abuse. This study indicates that the media reports of child abuse in South Korea did not follow the guidelines in many facets. The present study discusses the limitations of the current guidelines and suggests future directions for the news media in reporting on child abuse cases nationwide.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107037
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Child abuse
  • Newspapers
  • Reporting guidelines
  • South Korea


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