Education Minister, Doctor Gale Rigobert has cited what she described as an insatiable appetite for sensational news.
A reporter had asked the Minister about the release of a Security Guard who allegedly exposed his penis to an eighteen year old female student of Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) and invited her to speak to the issue of prejudgment of citizens, in the light of the ongoing probe.
Police said the man had been released without being charged pending further investigations into the matter.
Doctor Rigobert welcomed the reporter’s invitation to speak saying she was happy that the issue had been raised.
“I hope in your broadcast you will repeat the question,” she said.
“That is why when you hound me immediately after such incidents – when you hound me for a reaction, I always ask for time to investigate the matter; I ask that I be afforded time to understand the intimate details or the complications of the matter.”
She asserted that for some”curious reason” there is an insatiable appetite for sensational news with very little regard for the sensitivity of the matter, the victim and the emotions of the victim and also little regard for the alleged perpetrators who also benefit from human rights and ought to be deemed innocent until proven guilty.
“I think this is a lesson for all of us and for you journalists as well, that when these incidents occur that you resist the temptation to run with stories without having the benefit of the full details,” the Minister stated.
She said there was a way in which matters can be reported in a preliminary way without having to implicate anyone “unnecessarily.”
Rigobert noted that she was encouraged by the fact that the agencies and persons held responsible for oversight were willing to offer opinion and guidance and caution.
But she made a request that the media spare a thought for the victims and their family and the alleged perpetrator and their family until such time that there is sufficient factual information to report.
The Minister said:
“Do you now understand why I always ask for time?”
The alleged SALCC incident became widespread when a video of a man being arrested by the police was posted on Facebook and quickly went viral.
Rigobert, who is also responsible for Technology, spoke to the responsible use of technology.
She declared that while the positive use of technology is often showcased, ever so often one must stop and reflect on the harmful and unsavory use of technology.
“We have to be very careful especially as we raise a generation for whom technology is common place and ubiquitous that the engagement and interaction of technology is based on due responsibility, understanding of the reach, the breadth of technology – the inherent danger of using technology irresponsibility,” the Minister explained.
She said she wanted to appeal to the public to be careful how technology is used so that inadvertently harm is not caused to others and themselves.