I remember vividly the time one of the students at my school was involved in a fatal accident. A few minutes after the accident, pictures of her and many other people who had died during that accident flooded social media pages. Until this day, the images of those who died are still stuck in my head. Pictures, of which by just looking at them, one could tell that, the deceased had terribly suffered. It made me question, why someone found it right to take such kind of pictures and post them on social media? worse, why those who viewed them thought of sharing such kind of pictures. Is it even legal? Even if it is legal, it is still very unethical and cruel.
Such is the norm when accidents happen, someone always wants to be the first one breaking the news as if it were a competition. People take pictures of the dead or the victims even with their clothes torn off and their body parts exposed as they lay lifeless. You can search “accidents in Malawi” and you will get a page full of the kind of pictures I am talking about. It’s even strange when well-known media outlets for instance, The Malavi Post, use the very same pictures when reporting news about accidents. It makes one question their integrity and respect for humanity. Let me make it very clear that those who, after viewing the pictures think of sharing them are as guilty as the ones who take and post such kind of pictures. The right to privacy we speak of and defend, does it apply to the living because only the living can defend themselves?
Know that there is absolutely no defense to taking and sharing pictures of dead people unless one is licensed and required to do by either law or profession (I.e. the Police or Medical Personnel). And for a country whose culture respects the dead, such kind of behavior is very uncontradictory, it should never be condoned. If taking pictures of accident victims is not restricted by law, at least it should be restricted on the grounds of common human decency and respect for the dead.
If we have little or no regard for the dead, how about some compassion for the living? The parents, children, relatives and friends of the dead. Is it how we want them to remember their loved ones? There is a very common saying which states that” do onto others as you would have them do onto you”. If you were to die like that, would you wish for your dead body to be subjected to such humiliation and little regard? How would it feel to watch strangers take out their phones not to call for help but to take pictures of you or that of your loved one such a defenseless and lifeless body?
I would like to commend Alpha Dube and other individuals involved for taking an initiative to have a petition signed which aims at fighting for the right of privacy of dead persons. Please sign this petition for yourself, your relatives, friends and for the whole of humanity.
You can sign the petition here.