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A touch of sensitivity

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The country has experienced a surge of tragedy lately. And there are numerous people out there whose loss is real. There are a lot of people who have lost family and friends during the tragic accidents. These people are mourning and suffering. The last thing they need is to be surrounded by insensitive people. If one cannot do anything tangible to help, at least have a touch of sensitivity and the ethical sense to let those who are grieving grieve peacefully and accord them the respect needed at such times.

I am talking about the graphic images that fly around on social media like trophies of some sort on parade. This is happening a little too often and I must say it is getting out of hand. The last thing I would want is to find out from social media about a dead relative let alone through a very graphic image on Facebook or Twitter or Whatsapp. People rush to post dead body pictures of people they do not even know and one wonders what the goal is.

Unfortunately, this has become a common trend. Every time someone is murdered, dies in a car crash, drowns or is attacked by robbers and the list is endless, we see the pictures all over the digital world. We see dead bodies with other parts missing, with painful cuts, broken bones and all graphic scenes that come with tragic deaths.

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I once saw pictures of the nurse who was hacked somewhere in the Central Region taken in a hospital set-up by someone who thought it right to take and distribute such graphic pictures. There must have been three or four pictures with others at close range and others from a distance. The same was the case with a person living with albinism that was hacked later. These were not pictures for everyone to see and they were not pictures to be distributed. Nonetheless, someone deemed it fit to start circulating them.

With the recent series of accidents happening in the country and the pictures seen all over the place, apparently the idea is to spread the news incase people have relatives involved. I believe text suffices. A description of what happened where, when, how and to who is enough for those with relatives involved to get a clue. The involvement of graphic pictures is an unnecessary and insensitive sensational tendency and at most the objectification of others who are at that point just statistics to you. Frankly speaking, I have not seen anyone spread such of their own relatives.

It does not help that nowadays everybody who desires to can become a citizen journalist can become one as long as they have some data bundles and 2G or 3G data connection on their mobile phones. Some people spend most of their time playing on social media and simply being gossip mongers who copy and paste any information online.

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Professionalism dictates that it is unethical to publish graphic images and broadcast graphic videos to the public because this is offensive and insensitive. This is why you will hardly see the professionals posting such on public media platforms even if they get to see it and photograph it with their own eyes for factual data collection.

The idea of posting pictures of people who are seriously injured is or whose bodies have been cut up is inhuman. I could confidently bet that the people posting such pictures will be incensed if, God forbid, their own relative tragically died and their pictures were pasted around in such a way.

I find it amazing how technology seems to make people forget their sense of decency and, consequently, all logic eludes them. Even in everyday life, a dead body is never paraded for whatever reason. Why does it become fancy to do this through an LCD screen? This is called desecrating a dead body; treating it with disrespect and it will never be normal.

We should not lose our sense of respect and decency when we are alone curled up in our rooms or offices or having one too many at any of the countless drinking places in the country. Our phones and laptops are just gadgets that we should control and not the other way round. It is painfully tragic for a grown-up person to lose their sensitivity because of a gadget spiked with popular culture. Let us not forget that touch of sensitivity.

I rest my case

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