Monday, 31 July 2017

Intruding on other people's lives

is something I try not to do. I also believe it is something I should not do.
It seems the media feels differently.  They make the claim that "the public has a right to know" about celebrities, about grieving families, about sports people and their partners, about the sexual and marital relations of politicians and other "public" figures.
There is no such "right to know".  The "Princess Diana" tapes should never be aired. Charlie Gard's parents went through even greater trauma because of the media coverage which encouraged them to "fight on". Is it really a news item that the partner of a footballer has given birth - or that someone has had sexual relations outside marriage or is considering divorce? 
The problem with all these things is not just the publicity given to those directly involved. It is the publicity given to those who are indirectly involved or even not involved at all but simply members of the same family. All too often it is not just unwarranted but unwanted.
Years ago there was a very senior federal politician who got into serious trouble and lost his position. He had two children in primary school at the time. They were taunted with "Your dad's a crim...". They were ignored. They were set upon. The parents of many of the other children told them to "stay away" from them, not to play with them. It reached a point where there were questions about whether the two children should even be attending school  because the disruption was so great. And yes, it was all over the media.
The children had done nothing wrong. They were not even old enough to fully understand what was going on. They were bewildered and frightened. None of this was mentioned in the media.
I heard about their fear and their misery from a friend whose children attended the same school. She had been taking her own children to school one morning when she saw a particularly nasty incident and intervened. 
I saw her a couple of days ago. She mentioned that the boys she helped that morning were still in touch. They have never really recovered from the trauma of the negative publicity surrounding their father. They still find it difficult to trust people. They keep their heads down. Both have sought counselling.
The allegations made about the politician were never proven. The media still made much of it - and would still do it today. The "right to know" is still cited as the reason to make much of such stories. 
It doesn't seem to matter how much harm or distress it does the innocent.


No comments: