Recently, there have been a lot of news about “ungracious” Singaporeans refusing to give up their seats for pregnant women or elderly folks. All these stories are “raised” by normal people like you and I (thus the term citizen) and comes attached with a photo taken using handphone camera , accompanied by an one-sided eye-witness account from the “reporter”.
Actually, when reading these “news” have you all given a thought on how accurate the news are? Frankly, I have not thought of this until recently my brother told me about the plight of his schoolmate.
He told me that one of his female schoolmate’s photo was taken in the MRT and got posted on STOMP. The “reporter” told STOMP that she was reading her notes earlier on her seat then “pretended” to doze off when a pregnant woman boarded the train. Righteously, the “reporter” immediately took picture of the student and reported her ungraciousness to STOMP. Well, people like us would just take the account as it is, but my brother told me the other side of the story.
He and other schoolmates were pretty shocked to see her photo on STOMP and that she was even accused of doing such a mean thing. To people who knew her, she is a quiet and good natured girl and most encouraging, none of them believed she would do something like that. In my brother exact words, he said “she gong gong (hokkien word for blur blur) one, she could not have done such thing. very poor thing … There are people cursing her that she would have no seats too when she is pregnant too…”
Then, it hit me. Seriously, I would believe that the “reporter” surfaced the news out of good intention, but have he misjudged this incident?
People like us, armed with handphone camera who are net savvy and might have blogged, have we also been too haste in judgement that we might have reported an incident wrongly? I mean we might not realised at the point in time that what we see might not the whole truth and unlike professional journalist, we might not have check back with the person and give them a chance to explain their behaviour as well. In a way, this incident make me conscious about the things we blogged and set me thinking how much one should believe with news like that.
Maybe we have not realised that, but citizen reporters and bloggers alike, our writing might affect someone in a serious way. We have to be responsible with that as well. Before we posted anything that might affect others, we should have think twice and observe carefully whether it is as what we have seen. Also, we might want to think in other parties’ shoes on how they can take it if the matter was publicised openly especially in STOMP where a lot of Singaporeans would read it. I mean it is public humiliation after all and not everyone can take this kind of stress. If the person would have been slightly weak-minded and (touchwood) committed suicide, how would you felt if you are the one writing about it? Guilty, very very guilty definitely.
Perhaps, instead of reporting ugly sights and ungracious acts publicly, why not tell the person off straight in the face when you encounter it. At least one gets to hear the explanation off the horse’s mouth. Of course, this might not apply to every situations as there are people who have done something on purpose with malicious intention.
Well, now it appears that blogging and citizen journalism is not a simple task isn't it?