Friday, July 8, 2011

U.S. news media debate naming Strauss-Kahn accuser

NEW YORK, July 8 (Reuters) - By now, anyone following the Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexual assault case knows plenty about the woman who accused him: her age, origins, work history, relatives and, most recently, a series of lies and misstatements she gave to investigators.

But one detail has remained concealed by major U.S. media: her name.

Citing the unique stigma of rape, American news outlets have for decades refused to identify victims and alleged victims of sexual assault, even as they investigate their backgrounds.

As recent revelations raise doubts about the credibility of Strauss-Kahn's accuser, and the attempted rape case against the former International Monetary Fund chief appears close to collapse, news organizations have begun to revisit these long-held policies.

"It's an ethical minefield," said Adam Penenberg, a journalism professor at New York University. "It puts everybody in an impossible position."

The woman's name has already been published by numerous news outlets in Europe and Africa, where accusers' names are more routinely reported.

An Internet search will reveal it is on hundreds of websites. Some journalism experts say that renders the convention of anonymity increasingly meaningless.



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