Do Not Post Personal Details of Landslide Victims
PETALING JAYA: Social media users have been urged to stop posting or sharing inappropriate photographs and videos of victims of the landslide in Batang Kali on Friday.
Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia executive director of communications Mediha Mahmood said social media users should show respect to families of the victims, and allow them privacy to grieve.
She said although it was important to report news on tragedies, sharing of graphic photographs or videos and possible misuse of such material was unethical.
“Whether it is (mainstream) or social media, it is very important to consider if use of such material is appropriate or necessary. Always remember that the interests of the victims (and their families) come first, and their rights must always be (considered).”
Meanwhile, Taylor University School of Media and Communication senior lecturer Dr Benjamin Y.H. Loh said posting pictures of bodies and sensitive information such as personal details of victims on social media could cause stress to their families and friends.
“Having to see such information on social media can inflict emotional and mental trauma on families who are waiting anxiously for news from the authorities, especially when there are still people missing and bodies that remain unidentified.”
Loh said the main goal in such times of crisis should not be publicity or online fame, adding that the role of responsible social media users must be focused on spreading awareness or assisting those in need.
“Posting and resharing inappropriate pictures will likely not have any constructive value to family members other than reminding them of the tragedy and their loss.”
He said social media users should offer useful information such as some descriptive details of those affected, but not their names or other private information, so that families and friends can reach out if they need to.
“Personal information should not be shared in a public (domain) and it is important to protect the privacy of the victims (and their families),” he added.
In a press conference on the day of the tragedy, Communications and Digital Minister Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil urged media employees and social media users to refrain from sharing inappropriate images and videos of the landslide victims, especially children.
“Sharing such rather graphic content is saddening. Social media users need to be reminded that sharing graphic images and videos of victims is against the law and common decency.”
He said Eastern customs of honouring others, especially the victims, need to be observed in sad situations such as this, adding that he hopes the media would play an active role in reminding the public to be careful and empathetic in sharing sensitive content.
“In (reporting on) the landslide incident in Batang Kali, please avoid showing faces or displaying names of the victims, especially children. The issue needs to be taken seriously by all media (staff), and especially social media users.
“Please respect those who are undergoing very difficult times. Give them space (to grieve) and do not display or share inappropriate videos and images that could prompt defamation (action) and misunderstandings. Trust only information conveyed through authentic, verifiable platforms and official media,” Fahmi added.