Samson’s Take: Privacy, Dignity, Decency, Respect – a disappointing generation

Samson’s Take: Privacy, Dignity, Decency, Respect – a disappointing generation
Source: Samson Lardy ANYENINI
Date: 16-06-2018 Time: 04:06:30:pm

Today, I should have been writing about Odekro’s latest report revealing the obvious that only three Members of Parliament have a perfect record of attendance and dedication to work.

Fifty-four MPs have not been to work for 15, 20, 27, or 29 times in the 1st session of this 7th Parliament. Guess what? They did so without written permission contrary to article 97(1)(c) of the Constitution and the leaders (especially the Speaker) did absolutely nothing despite being empowered by the Standing Orders of Parliament to initiate disciplinary proceedings to declare their seats vacant.

What an example by MPs who are leaders in our communities and many look up to? I wrote about this subject recently. 

But I find myself having to return to the subject of privacy I have written about a couple of times. 

Our law (Courts Act in section 102) provides that certain cases should not be tried in open court but in the chambers of judges. There is good reason for this and the law says this ought to be done “in the interest of defence, public safety, public morality, the welfare of persons under the age of majority or the protection of the private lives of persons concerned in the proceedings.”

This is almost the same instruction repeated in our Civil Procedure Rules (Order 1), and these enjoin judges to ensure matrimonial or cases involving dissolution of marriages and custody of children are held in chambers with only those affected and their lawyers being present.

This sense of dignity, respect, decency in making such proceedings private and confidential is not borrowed from the English. It is inherent in our African traditional family value system.  

I am very disturbed that we seem to gloat over the misfortunes of others. The media is guilty, and just too many of us are guilty and social media is making it even worse. In 2012 I observed the Raquel wardrobe malfunction that made news. The obviously intelligent and pretty singer didn’t wear panties to stage, and I saw many people share those pictures showing her ‘naked’.

Someone took those pictures and decided to circulate them. What this person gained I don’t know, and I can’t believe he gained anything to be proud of. Recently, I watched in utter shock as thousands helped a misguided man circulate nude pictures and videos of his estranged celebrity wife, Afia. It is good to know he is facing prosecution for that criminal conduct.

This week social media has been full of divorce documents of the Lithur family. I told the first person who forwarded them to me that I really prayed it won’t be circulated. But in a few minutes, these documents seem to be all over on whatsapp and facebook.

I commend the guys in the Joynews room and those other media that exhibited high ethical standards by refusing to promote that story. It is bad that these private and confidential documents got leaked. But it is a very sad commentary on journalism in Ghana that a section of the media promoted the story by publishing those documents or detailing the contents even after the couple issued separate statements pleading for privacy and the fact that such publication was not only making things a lot more difficult for them but their children.

It is my view that even if the law did not make provision for private and confidential treatment of such matters, one should naturally hesitate to circulate such sensitive stuff because their sense of responsibility and respect for themselves and others should place some restraint on them.

This generation ought to learn not to destroy this sense of dignity by the misuse and abuse of technology and social media.

"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." - Matthew 7:12 

 

Samson Lardy ANYENINI

June 16, 2018

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