Saturday, August 13, 2011

Privacy... or lack thereof

Recently a friend of a friend and his girlfriend died unexpectedly and tragically. It's a terrible situation and I was shocked to hear that they had died. I imagine that their families and close friends are devastated by this sudden loss - how could they not be? - and so I wasn't surprised to hear that the families had requested that the names of the two not be published in the news.

However, the Vancouver Sun reported the names of the man and the woman in a story made up of quotes from Facebook. The family was not contacted before the story was written; they got to find out that the names were published along with everyone else. Can you imagine being in the families' position right now? They request privacy for whatever reason - maybe they haven't notified other family members, or maybe they wanted some privacy to make their own arrangements, or whatever - and that privacy has been violated. My heart aches for those families.

I am disgusted that this newspaper would do this. I understand that, legally, they're probably well within their rights to publish the names and that the Vancouver Sun isn't exactly known for its superior journalistic qualities. However, I expected better from them and I couldn't just let this slide. I wrote to the article author, the editor, and the publisher expressing my feelings on this issue and I know of a few others have done the same. The families deserved better.

It's sad that privacy means so little these days.

1 comment:

The Hyperlexian Aspie said...

yeah, it can be quite appalling. it's actually better in some ways than it used to be, though. up to the 1970s it was fairly common for the newspaper to publish a person's address (or partial address) in the tragic story! but with the internet today, it is far too easy to track down various intimate details of a person's life.

love,
vicki