Posted on

THE ‘NETTE EFFECT: Welcome action after the furore

Antoinette Connell

THE ‘NETTE EFFECT: Welcome action after the furore

Social Share

A middle-aged man, whose hair had begun to turn grey, courted two women at the same time. One of them was young, and the other well advanced in years.
The elder woman, ashamed to be courted by a man younger than herself, made a point, whenever her admirer visited her, to pull out some portion of his black hairs.
The younger, on the contrary, not wishing to become the wife of an old man, was equally zealous in removing every grey hair she could find. Thus it came to pass that between them both he very soon found that he had not a hair left on his head.
Those who seek to please everybody please nobody. – Aesop’s Fables
WERE YOU as shocked as I was at the publication of a picture and story about two children engaging in sex on the school grounds? My Lord, how could they do that? – the children I mean.
I was further shocked by the raging debate that followed the SATURDAY SUN report.
I expected the outcry. What I did not expect was that it would be concentrated on the newspaper rather than the problem.
The furore was so intense it overshadowed several other events.
In the midst of the protests, the cries for an apology and the radio debates I was beginning to think the real problem was this media house.
As a mother of a schoolchild my initial reaction upon hearing and then seeing the story was a very unsettling feeling.  
How can children be having sex and we are not first appalled at that? How can they be doing it on the school premises and the adults not be aware? How could they have abandoned – if it was ever there in the first place – all sense of decency to the point they are willing to be publicly recorded in the act. Are they so desensitized?
Of that I was, and still am, utterly appalled.
Isn’t this the sort of situation that creates the societal problem of teenage pregnancies, STDs as well as distracts from a sound secondary education?
Readers, please start the outcry there. Then, go to the mischievous hand that plastered the full video on Facebook, faces and all, knowing full well that once posted it could not be recalled.
In the wake of the shake-up the article has caused, the newspaper has been accused of sensationalism and gratuitous publication of the information as if this is the first for such a story.
There is discussion also on whether the Director of Public Prosecutions should investigate a breach of the pornography law or a violation of the rights of the children.
From the lowest person with no authority to the highest with the authority vested, I could find no articulation of what they suggest should be done to protect children from themselves.
On the gratuitous accusation that we had to determine whether the story was newsworthy; its unusual nature meant that it was. The details, vivid as they were, further shocked us to the point of being uncomfortable. But that’s the point. The critical comments are noted on that point.  
The photographs were used as proof that what we said actually occurred and it was particularly necessary in this case where accusations of fabrication are quick to surface. The uniform and faces were indistinguishable.
On a small note, the reference to a “rural” school had nothing to do with being disparaging in relation to the school. It was just a matter of location rather than revealing the parish.
But all was not lost because out of the entire episode I learnt one or two things.
In a world where anything goes, I’ve found that the NATION is held to a higher standard than others. That is good.
I firmly believe the recording on Facebook had many views, was probably reposted, “liked” or commented on. On social media, the shock effect of these happenings is greatly reduced. They are viewed as mere entertainment.
Only after it was picked up by the NATION was action taken. For that I say hurray.