01 October 2007

The articles are captured from the original writer, MsMarina (with her permission). SambalBelacan is just compiling articles to make easier to find. Any comments received will remain un-respond because it's not mine.Reach her at her very own blog at http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com Please.
Wednesday September 26, 2007

Be sympathetic, don’t speculate


One of the results of media sensationalism is that it creates and perpetuates certain myths resulting in certain responses. In the case Nurin Jazlin Jazimin one of the main ones is that somehow the parents are responsible for her death by being negligent. The response to that is to say that they can be charged under the law.

It’s often said that rape victims suffer twice, once during the actual trauma of the act and again when the media reports on it.

Salacious bits about the crime are repeated endlessly, gossip is flagged and when the case goes to court, curiosity about the victim sometimes exceeds that of the perpetrator.

Show understanding: It was not necessary to say Jazimin and his wife Norazain Bistaman can be charged as they had just buried their child. The statement only seems to serve public relations purposes.
Worse still when the victim is killed. One only needs to remember Canny Ong to know how true this is.

This seems to be true again in the murder of little Nurin Jazlin Jazimin. Initially her disappearance receives some mention but as the days go by, little alarm is raised.

Then 28 days pass by and things start to heat up. A body is discovered and the frenzy begins.

I have to wonder about media ethics. If a child is sexually abused and killed, does it really matter how? Is there really a need to report the more abhorrent details of her suffering?

Is there really a need to print photos of the dead child, even if the initial intention was to find out her identity? Don’t little children deserve some respect too?

Then what is the need to raise speculation about what happened and why? These are not things we will know for sure until the killer is found and caught. So why speculate?

Why not concentrate energies firstly on finding the killer and secondly on ensuring that no other child will ever suffer the same fate?

What use is it to spend time speculating on the possible reasons why this happened when each and every case may be different?

I feel sorry for the parents. Bad enough that they had to face that long agony of searching for their child and then its terrible conclusion without having to also face each day screaming headlines about things that are untrue.

It only illustrates the way the Internet and blogs have become so essential because it allows their side of the story to be heard when there is no other way.

What is the result of the media sensationalism? It creates and perpetuates certain myths resulting in certain responses.

One of the main ones is that somehow the parents are responsible for the death of their child by being negligent.

The response to that is to say that they can be charged under the law.

Firstly, whether they are or not are debatable and cannot be ascertained without proper investigation. That investigation does not need to be done immediately because it is not urgent.

Secondly, even if they can be charged under some law, is it necessary to bring it up now when they’ve only just buried their child?

When leaders are expected to have some wisdom, one has to wonder what possessed some of ours to immediately start talking as if the guilty ones are the parents. Is there not a killer still at large?

Would not issuing a statement of sympathy and condolence first be the right thing to do as well as a strong commitment to find the killer? If nothing else, statements such as these serve public relations purposes.

In countries like Japan, public officials sometimes issue apologies for failing the public. Here, they turn on the victims and make them feel like criminals.

What if in the meantime another child disappears? Do the parents immediately get arrested?

What has happened to our priorities that they can be turned so upside down?

How is it that a Government that issues ‘caring’ budgets can be so cavalier in its treatment of ordinary citizens, citizens that it has in fact failed?

If I were to call myself a leader, firstly I would visit the parents and extend my sympathies. I would have attended the funeral.

Then I would say exactly what I would do to find the killer and make our streets safe for citizens, especially our children.

I would say that that’s my responsibility and promise to the nation, not anyone else’s.

Then I would take action. A campaign to tell parents how to talk to their kids about safety would be the first thing.

Then there would be signs in public places asking people to look out for anything odd involving children, and to report those immediately.

Meanwhile the police will not rest until they catch the killer.

But I would also warn the public not to take the law into their own hands, no matter how angry they get with possible suspects.

The law must be seen to work.

Leaving it to the public may result in vigilantism. What if they get the wrong person?

Two wrongs do not make a right.

There have been too many Nurin Jazlins. People are fearful for their kids. It wouldn’t hurt for our leaders to be more sensitive to that.