I REFER to the report “Woman threatens council officer over illegal parking” (The Star, Sept 9) and the accompanying video clip. It is sad that the lady lost her cool while dealing with the problem. Perhaps she was having a hard time or she was stressed because this was the first time her car was clamped and she would have to pay a fine to get it released. Whatever the reason, her action was unreasonable and the council officer should be congratulated for his cool composure while dealing with her.
In any case, this is a private matter between the lady and the council officer. Although she was holding the steering lock, she didn’t seem violent or have any intention of hurting anyone.
And she was unaware that she was being video-recorded at close range. Had she known, would she have continued to do what she was doing? She was so caught up with the matter that she was unaware of her surroundings, including the person doing the video recording.
It is unfortunate that the video clip of this incident was uploaded on social media where it is now being shared via Facebook and Whatsapp, among others, and also reported in the mainstream media.
What was the motive of the video- grapher for releasing the video on social media? To shame the lady? To share a rare event by posting it online and to get as many hits as possible? Is he/she a sadist preying on the difficulties of others and enjoy seeing how others suffer? Is he/she a snoop?
Today’s communication techno-
logy has created a new culture where everyone can be a snoop or reporter overnight without any training or practice. Everyone involved seems to have forgotten about ethics. One must observe ethics when carrying out the task of a professional news reporter or journalist. Even if one is not a professional, one needs to ask some pertinent questions: What is my purpose for broadcasting the video clip to the public? How would others read my action? Would they think I’m trying to shame the “victim”? What would I get out of this?
I’ve got one basic question to ask the videographer: Would you do the same if this lady were your relative or wife?
Every one of us has our day. Whoever among us has not been angry before may cast the first stone at her. Since we do not understand where this lady in the video clip is coming from, why must we be judgmental?
As I write, the video posting by PublicNews on Facebook has garnered over 722,000 views and 12,400 shares. Here are some comments from netizens on the video clip, ugly as they may seem:
> Ooh... another ugly Malaysian.
> Threatening an on-duty state officer with a weapon. Sayonara, she’s gonna be in jail for a long time.
> Just stating the facts. I’m sure she does valuable work with OKU. She’s probably a kind woman. But the law is the law. Doesn’t change that she was waving a weapon in a threatening manner at a uniformed officer discharging his duty.
> Only in Malaysia it will happen. If other country, police will handle this kind of attitude people with brutally (sic).
> Lady, if you saw the poor and you wanna help them, then you go rob the bank and give the money to them, you salah kah tidak?
> I am quite curious about her reaction if she gets the chance to watch this video recording and look at her insane act. Padan muka lah.
> I think her brain is in OKU now. Just take the compound and pay only. What is the point of shouting in public?
I also wonder whether some of the respondents know that they are being rude and offensive, and also have the intention to shame the lady in the video, thinking that they are helping her.
Here are some basic ethical principles to follow before posting a video in the public domain:
1. Is it meant for the public?
2. Do the persons (protagonists) recorded in the video clip know what you are doing?
3. What is your intention of broadcasting the incident to the public? What do you hope to achieve?
4. If it is a private matter, would you do it if the protagonist was related to you?
Let’s not add more stress to people who are already emotionally stressed in our society. There’s plenty of them. Let’s help them.