Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Privacy and Respect

My friend France posted this and I asked permission to repost this because this needs to get out.

Privacy is defined by Dictionary.com as the state of being free from intrusion or disturbance in one's private life or affairs: the right to privacy while Respect is defined as to refrain from intruding upon or interfering with: to respect a person's privacy.Those are two very basic words but heavy with meaning.

I just can't help but be disappointed with the way they acted. Let me share this story that just recently happened. A disclaimer though: the things that are put here are my own account and experience. This is more a ranting session.

Just this weekend our community held a crossroads retreat in one of the retreat places in Tagaytay. It so happened that a show in ABS-CBN, particularly The Correspondents, asked permission from us that if they can cover our event as part of their report. Our admin person mentioned this to our elder, and automatically our elder said no because it's a private activity. So the production team left. They came back the second time and again asked since they are there and that the other group in the retreat facility allowed them to take their group, they asked if they could do the same to us. Again, the answer is no and that our elder mentioned that "When we said no, you should respect our decision and our privacy. I hope you understand." Into which they said they do understand. So we thought it was the end of it.

But on my way to the Ladies' room, the staff from the Retreat House and Bernadette Sembrano came over and asked if they wanted to talk to the elder. Right there and then I told her no, you cannot simply take videos. Hear me out, Sembrano says. Okay, I told her. She mentioned that the other group are elederly people and that she wanted to take the video of the community since we are young professionals and that we also attend retreats during Lent not just going to the beach. I told her that even if that's the reason, we would still not allow it simply because it is a private activity and that even if you talk to our elder, she will still give you the same answer. Even on our own terms. I told her even if we have terms, it's still a no. She said okay, and then they left. I communicated it immediately to our elder.

But we got the surprise of our lives when Sembrano is very insistent on talking our elder. She approached her and told her the same account. My elder told her that it's a no and you have to understand that. Then she became arrogant, saying, you're a catholic community and yet your staff are very edgy (read: mataray daw ako). Our elder said, yes, my people are edgy simply because you don't respect our decision. They ended still not covering us though I am wary because they might be taking videos of us while we're having an activity outside the conference room. They came back 5 TIMES for some reason the word NO was a foreign concept

I may be bold in stating her name, yes, but my respect for her as a journalist or in that profession came down big time. I am a bit sad because they did not understand the meaning of NO. I wanted to ask though if they would allow us attending their own weddings, parties and affairs and take pictures of it even if they do not know us. Of course not! Then I think the same rule applies to us.

I guess we as individuals with no stellar status on our belts should not approve these people to step on us just to get a story. And they should draw the line. And our right to privacy should be respcted.

I would like to request you though: if you happen to watch correspondents and see us, do tell me immediately :)


Edelweiza said...

media people can be very insistent/arrogant pala talaga, noh? and to think your group said NO each time they approached. everyone, not just the media people, should learn to respect a person's or group's right to privacy. i hope they didn't take a video of your group surreptitiously.

Mec said...

i guess media people develop a sense of entitlement over time (and actually, some of us bloggers as well, i think) that they should be given access to everything... with the belief that they're doing the 'subject' a favor...