::: IN MEDIA RES :::

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Javni interes, mariborska tragedija in dopuščanje razprave

Of course, the media should have some right to invade a citizen’s privacy, provided there is a justification of public interest in the affair. This can be loosely defined as the public’s right to know about something which is being done privately by someone and which is against the general or specific interests of society.

V kakšni novinarski krajini živimo, če niti po osmih tednih zdaj že zamrlih enostranskih razprav še vedno stojimo na edinem in skrbno negovanem okopu, da je za mariborsko tragedijo kriv poseg v zasebnost posameznikov, ki ni bila z ničemer pogojen z javnim interesom? Seveda se razprava, to je verjetno v naravi siceršnje novinarske efemernosti, počasi zaključuje, če se že ni. Promotorji okopa, Društvo novinarjev Slovenije, stroka in pravzaprav skoraj vsi, ki so jih spustili do besede, so nam prodajali le eno zveličavno resnico. Vedno bolj se zdi, da z dobrim razlogom: ker ta resnica prikriva neko drugačno, namreč tisto o bistveno bolj enakomerno porazdeljeni krivdi za smrt ravnatelja in hkrati tisto drugo o nereflektiranih razmerah in novinarskih pristopih v domačih medijih.

Mirror ravnatelj samomor 1

Dopuščanje drugačnega mnenja

Doslej sem zagovarjal kar nekaj nasprotnih miselnih izhodišč: da še zdaleč ni samoumevno prevladujoče ravnanje novinarskega ceha, ki je izhajalo iz prepričanja, po katerem javnega interesa v tem primeru enostavno ni bilo, da je preveč preprosta teza, da so mediji ubili nesrečnega ravnatelja, da je bilo dosedanje početje ti. »resnih« medijev in stroke pretežno podvrženo moraliziranju in iskanju grešnih kozlov v rumenih in vseh drugih medijih, ki so menili drugače, delno v funkciji, da bi opravičilo svoje ne-ravnanje. Nesporno velja, da več izkazanega javnega interesa vodi v večji obseg novinarskega poročanja in manjši v manjšega – v našem primeru pa je nekdo presodil, da je interesa tako malo oziroma nič, da je preprosto treba molčati.  Dokazoval sem tudi, da tudi če bi bilo res, da v primeru ni bilo zaznati trohice javnega interesa, ravnanja ceha še zdaleč ni bilo ustrezno.

V prid prvi trditvi sem navedel pet mnenj tujih strokovnjakov za novinarsko etiko o mariborski zgodbi, danes bom dodal še šesto in sedmo ter znova opozoril, da so prav vsa mnenja istovrstna in da so vsaj omajala, če ne spodbila samoumevno stališče domače novinarske in strokovne javnosti.

Šesto mnenje

When it comes to ethics, I would make no distinction between the responsibilities of the “tabloid” and mainstream media.  Sometimes the tabloid press seems to get a free pass simply because they are expected to be irresponsible.  Nor should the mainstream media be relieved of ethical accountability when they ultimately report a story first appearing in the tabloid press on grounds that “the story is already out there, so we have no choice but to go with it too” — or because they choose to ignore the story entirely.  I’ve seen even the New York Times use that rationalization. So the ethically correct and justifiable choice depends on the facts, values and principles in play, not the type of media involved.  That said, the media cannot be held hostage to threats by newsworthy individuals who might threaten to harm themselves or others if they receive coverage; but that, of course, was not the case here.

An incident that reflects utterly inappropriate, unprofessional behavior by people responsible for the education and wellbeing of secondary school students is certainly newsworthy and of enormous public interest. In fact, responsible journalists should feel an obligation to report it (assuming it did in fact occur and the video was not a fake of some kind, which is something else the media ought to check). The breach of trust the incident reflects is something of serious significance to parents, students, school officials and the community.  And it is all the more reprehensible because it occurred in a quasi-public place and that place happened to be a school.

The proper approach would not be to ignore the story, but to report it professionally.  By that I mean a reporter, once becoming aware of the video, ought to be talking to the two people who appear in it, to their superiors, to parents, the students who witnessed it, etc.  The story is the larger issues the incident represents, not the video itself.  People may disagree more about whether to identify the subjects by name, but I would be inclined to do so provided I had established that the incident was in fact real.  Not to identify them would be to cast suspicion on everyone else at the school.  And again, this was something that occurred in a quasi-public place. But the larger focus should be on the larger issue and what is being done about it. I see no reason for the news media to include the video in their reporting or to link to it — regardless of how easily available it might be.  It doesn’t meaningfully advance the story.

The suicide is of course a tragedy.  It would not be reasonable to expect the media to anticipate that anyone who is the subject of bad publicity is likely to be suicidal.  To blame it on the media is, I think, a major oversimplification.

So, given the information you provided, I find the behavior of both the tabloid and mainstream media to fall short.

(Incidentally, we have had a handful of similar incidents here, the most recent of which involved a man who committed suicide after being exposed as a possible pedophile by a television program in a sort of sting operation that lured him to a girl’s home thinking he might be setting up a sexual encounter only to be surprised by a journalist and camera crew.)

Avtor je ameriški profesor novinarske etike in tudi on v slovenski zgodbi vidi navzoč jasen javni interes. Ob tem opozarja, da glede etike ne more biti razlike med tabloidnimi in množičnimi mediji in da ta ni odvisna od vrste medija – ni dopustno, da se tabloidnim dopušča neodgovorno ravnanje le zato, ker od njih ne pričakujemo, niti ne moremo odvezati etične odgovornosti množičnih, ko poročajo o zgodbi, ki jo povzamejo po tablodnih, češ »zgodba je že bila objavljena, zato nismo imeli izbire« ali če se odločijo za polno ignoriranje.

Profesor ocenjuje početje ravnatelje in učiteljice kot popolnoma neprofesionalno in neprimerno za nekoga, ki mora skrbeti za vzgojo in dobrobit učencev na srednji šoli in s tem kot nekaj, kar je vredno novice in za kar obstaja ogromen javni interes. Še več, po njegovem bi morali novinarji čutiti dolžnost, ne nazadnje se je dogodek zgodili na šoli. Žarišče zanimanja bi moralo biti na širših temah, avtor pa ne vidi razloga, da bi v novinarske zapise vključili tudi video. Sklepa celo (s tem se sam ne bi mogel strinjati), da ni smiselno pričakovati od medijev, da bodo anticipirali samomorilnost nekoga, ki je podvržen slabi javni obravnavi. (Moje drugačno stališče: ne gre za vprašanje anticipacije in predvidevanja). Trditi, da so mediji povzročili smrt, se mu zdi pretirana posplošitev. Strinja se, da se v tem primeru niso izkazali niti rumeni in niti resni mediji.

Sedmo mnenje

You ask, how should the non-tabloid media respond? Should this story be reported or not?

It is a story about the changing dynamic between students and teachers, changed because of the power of social media. That is fascinating and new territory, and journalists serve society by looking at it seriously.

The question, as you say, is how should this story be reported.

A U.S. organization, the Society of Professional Journalists, for years had an excellent guideline in its ethics code. It said, “Do not pander to prurient interests.”

The tabloid media reported the story — and gave a link for people to see the unfortunate couple having sex. This is sensational, invasive, and prurient.

It is also unnecessary; the reader fully knows what having sex looks like, so seeing the video adds nothing to our understanding. It is voyeurism.

The answer for media in your country, then, in my opinion, was to report the story — in neutral tone, without sensationalizing it in any way — and to not link to the video or say where the video was available for viewing.

Plus the story needed to be reported with an eye to the issues involved, not the people.

Kanadski strokovnjak za medijsko etiko se, podobno kot vsi prejšnji, strinja s tem, da bi novinarji o primeru morali poročati.  Odgovorih vseh sedmih so si enaki na točki, da zagovarjajo »zmerno« poročanje in zavračajo ignoranco. Torej tudi on zanika tezo »Ni bilo javnega interesa, zato bi morali medij molčati«. Opozarja na nedopustno agendo sledenja pohotnim, s spolnostjo nabitim pisanjem, kjer ogled videa v ničemer ne prispeva k našemu poznavanju spolnosti, zgolj k nasladi, in je torej oblika voajerizma. Mediji bi morali pisati o primeru v nevtralnem tonu, brez senzacionalizma, brez objave videa in navedbe, kje si je možno video ogledati, ne o ljudeh, ampak o problemih. V nadaljevanju bom svoje trditve še poglobil – vedno bolj sem prepričan, da so cehovski in strokovni krogi znova odpovedali ne le pri vzpostavljanju ustreznega premisleka in refleksije, temveč že pri njunem dopuščanju.

Javni interes, argumenti in dopuščanje razprave

Naj za začetek opozorim na asimetrijo pri navajanju argumentov: zagovorniki molka do danes niso uspeli svoje pozicije v ničemer utemeljiti: papagajsko so ponavljali tisti »Ni bilo javnega interesa«, ne da bi poskušali storiti kaj več od tega. Ker krogi DNS obvladujejo ključne dominantne medije v državi in dajejo ton splošnemu mnenju, je takšno postalo tudi uradno stališče v njih. Mižanje in absolutistična zahteva po veri sta izraz argumenta moči, ne moči argumentov. Zato nihče ni poskušal zavrniti nasprotnih in posledično možnih načinih pristopa in poročanja, kar seveda ne implicira, da bi morali mediji ravnati na način, kot so to počeli tabloidni mediji. Pisanje na tej strani je bilo prav tako pospremljeno s pričakovano gluhoto, brez najmanjše reakcije. Argumente bom ponovil:

  • Navzoč javni interes je izpričan zaradi statusa javnih funkcij, ki jih opravljata ravnatelj in učiteljica. Četudi ne opravljata zelo pomembnih (biti ravnatelj srednje šole, biti profesor na srednji šoli), pa je njuna odgovornost do javnosti večja, kot bi bila sicer. Ker nesporno obstaja korelacija med odgovornostjo do javnosti in javnim interesom, se ne moremo pretvarjati, da takšnega interesa ni.
  • Njuna sicer zasebna intimna afera je prešla mejo zasebnosti v hipu, ko sta se odločila predati svojim strastem v šolskih prostorih, ki je v osnovi javni prostor. Intimni odnosi v javnih prostorih pa so, sploh če gre za osebe, ki vodijo takšne ustanove in so pedagoškega značaja, gotovo nekaj, kar zadeva splošno moralo v šoli ali družbi, v še večji meri pa zadeva učence in njihove starše ter njihova pričakovanja do šole in učiteljev.
  • Nezakoniti posnetek je bil plasiran v socialna omrežja in na splet, kar pomeni, da je s tem, želeli ali ne, postal viralen in kot javen dostopen vsem – to ne pomeni, da bi morali biti s posnetkom zadovoljni, tudi ne, da bi moral pristati na njegovo dostopnost in možnost pregledovanja in tudi ne, da ga ne bi smeli brisati. Pomeni pa, da se ne rabimo pretvarjati, da ga ni in da ni dogodka, ki je z njim povezan. Četudi javna dostopnost neke vsebine še ne implicira javnega interesa, pa implicira javno vednost in znanje, ki terjata novinarsko obravnavo in pojasnilo.

Tragični razplet v tem pogledu ne spremeni ničesar, dodaja le še nove nivoje argumentov na ravni iskanja krivcev za nastalo situacijo – v kateri pa so, kot rečeno, dominantni mediji, novinarski ceh in k besedi priglašena stroka znova zaigrali raje na karto kazanja s prstom na druge; dopustili niso nikakršnega dvoma, izmenjave stališč, razprave. Znašli smo se pred nedopustno sliko situacije: brezpogojno verjeti, drugačno mnenje potlačiti in zavreči, medije pa ukoriti in jih pozvati k podpisu zavez za boljše medije. S čimer ne bi bilo nič narobe, ko ne bi bile okoliščine tiste, ki porajajo sum v iskrenost motiva in verodostojnost takšne geste.

Odgovornost do javnosti

Oglejmo si nekaj značilnosti obravnave javnega interesa iz knjige Chrisa Frosta z naslovom Media Ethics and Self-Regulation in njegov primer svarila glede širine zakoličitve javnega interesa, ko gre za ravnatelja, ki je s spleta jemal otroško pornografijo:

One of the major debates around privacy is whether the notoriety or celebrity of a person allows them less right to privacy than others. Since we are talking about a general human right here, the view must be that all are entitled to privacy of their home life. However, those who have gained celebrity or notoriety will have inserted more of their life into the public domain than others and so are faced with having more of their private life examined in public than others. This is not to say that the argument, often developed by the tabloids, that once someone has developed a public life, their lives are totally open to intrusion, is correct. But it does mean that having gained celebrity, status, fame or money on the basis of a public life, the media does have the right to examine that life where conflicts might apply. This can involve a wide range of people and not just celebrities, the royal family or politicians.

For example, there is almost certainly a public interest defence for invading the privacy of a local head teacher if it can lead to the truthful revelation that he has been downloading child pornography onto his computer. This is a person who has been granted a privileged position and so has specific responsibilities to children, parents and the community to live up to certain standards, and those people are entitled to know if this is not happening. In this instance, the event is also a criminal offence, but what if we choose another example which does not include criminality?

Avtor navaja razloge, kaj oblikuje javni interes v danem primeru ravnatelja (opozori na javnost funkcije in posebne odgovornosti do otrok, staršev in skupnosti) in seveda dejstva, da gre za kaznivo dejanje. Mariborski primer je kajpak drugačen. Toda ali šele kaznivost dejanja primore k javnemu interesu? Frost nadaljuje s poanto, da za njegovo izpričanost ne rabimo nujno izpolnjenega tovrstnega pogoja in navede primer duhovnika, ki ga zasačijo pri spolni aferi:

Imagine a priest who is found to be having an affair. Not illegal, but again it is not what is expected and the press might well be justified in the public interest in publishing this. Although it intrudes into the priest’s private life, that intrusion is justified because the priest’s public life does extend into his private life in a way that might not apply to an ordinary member of the public; it is important that we know whether priests are having affairs. It is not significant to anyone other than their partners if an ordinary person is having an affair, unless we consider adultery so damaging to society that we should have a view on such affairs.

One problem that would have to be faced is that privacy varies from person to person; there are some people who are more entitled to elements of privacy than others and some who have less right than others by virtue of the positions they hold. A number of people seek social status by holding positions or offices within their communities that carry increased levels of responsibility and therefore reduced rights to privacy. Our expectations of politicians, teachers, doctors, lawyers, clergy, to name just a few, are much higher than those of ordinary citizens. These groups carry status in society but they pay for that with reduced rights. An office manager who had an affair with his secretary would not be considered anything other than foolish, but a teacher who had an affair with a sixth-former or a doctor who had sex with a patient would, quite rightly, feel the full opprobrium of the community when his or her privacy was breached and the story published. Such publication would be in the public interest.

Frost, eden do sedmerice, ki so mi posredovali svoje mnenje o mariborski tragediji, izpostavi prepoznaven javni interes v takšni aferi, našteje pa tudi primere profilov poklicev in drugih statusov, pri katerih je ta bolj izražen. V domačih razmerah smo podobno afero izkušali v primeru potencialnega očetovstva kardinala Rodeta dve leti nazaj. Avtorecepcija medijev je bila nenavadna in hkrati pričakovana: tako imenovani desni mediji so hiteli, očitno tudi zaradi politično-ideološko-medijske agende, pljuvati po časniku Delu in njegovem novinarju, ker je zgodbo sploh objavil. Argument je bil preprost in isti, kot ga danes zagovarja DNS: zasebnost kardinala nas ne rabi in tudi ne sme zanimati, ni javnega interesa.

Kvalitetni oz. »resni« mediji so bili pretežno z Delovo agendo solidarni  – o tem, ali zgodba vsebuje javni interes ali ne, se praktično niso sploh izrekali, niso pa je niti grajali, kar velja tudi za DNS. Izjemo je predstavljal Večer, ki se je postavljal v bran Rodetu in z eksluzivnimi novicami o nedolžnosti kardinala slednjega branil – očitno ob domnevi, da si obrambo zasluži zato, ker je nedolžen, njegova obravnava, kot je ponavljala Vanessa Čokl, pa je rumena, s čimer je bičala Delovo ravnanje. Takrat je NČR odločanje v tem primeru »zamrznilo« zaradi sodnega postopka, zato je praktično edino mnenje, ki smo ga lahko prebrali po sicer zelo dolgotrajni zgodbi, tisto pri Marku Milosavljeviću in Petru Lahu, od katerih je prvi zagovarjal navzočnost javnega interesa, spet drugi pa njegovo odsotnost.

Sam sem v seriji zapisov zagovarjal ne samo, da je bil slednji navzoč, temveč da tudi postopanje Dejana Karbe, ki se je znašel pod plazom kritik in bil na koncu skoraj odpuščen, v ničemer ni bilo neprofesionalno. Številni so mu očitali pristajanje na logiko namigovanja, toda dejstvo je, da si ni sam izmislil osebe, ki je pričakovala, če ne zahtevala, da kardinal opravi test – in to s karseda dobrimi razlogi za prepričanje, da je kardinal res njegov oče. Dejstvo je, da tudi negativni test očetovstva takšnega interesa v ničemer ni mogel omajati, kakorkoli se lahko legitimno pogovarjamo tudi o tem, ali je bila Rodetu povzročena določena škoda glede ugleda in časti.

Glede profilov in skupin ljudi, ki terjajo različne nivoje zaščite zasebnosti, Frost navaja naslednje:

The public clearly identify different groups of people as having different levels of privacy. These can be loosely identified as:

Those who volunteer for public life: These might include politicians or those seeking celebrity.

Positions of public responsibility: This would include doctors, teachers and civil servants; people who have chosen careers that mean they have some level of responsibility to the public.

Those introduced to public life by accident: This might apply to those dragged into public life against will, victims of disasters, those who are related to celebrities or criminals.

Notoriety: These are criminals or others who make themselves notorious. A study carried out by Matthew Kieran and colleagues found that the public had little difficulty identifying that whilst children should have considerable (almost total) control over their privacy, criminals should be entitled to very little control.

Kot sem v zapisih o mariborskem primeru nakazal, pa niti največji zagovorniki načela »Če ni javnega interesa, bomo molčali« niso postopali na tak način v preteklosti. V aferi Juri so namreč zagovarjali njegovo odsotnost, vendar mnoge, ki danes ravnajo drugače, takrat ničemer ni preprečevalo pri poročanju in obravnavi. Če sklenem: razprave in razumevanje javnega interesa v novinarski etiki pri nas očitno spremlja velika nedorečenost, pomanjkanje razprave in še bolj nedopuščanje pluralnega mnenja. Naštel sem sedem mnenj tujih ekspertov – dovolj za začetni vzorec, ki nakaže, da je mogoče primer misliti tudi drugače. Kakor vse kaže, se bo tragični moment mariborske tragedije zdaj še ponovil in podvojil: iz nje se ne bomo ničesar naučili.

Več:

https://vezjak.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/seks-v-mestu/

https://vezjak.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/so-slovenski-mediji-ubili-ravnatelja/

https://vezjak.wordpress.com/2014/11/30/seks-v-mestu-krivi-so-oni/

https://vezjak.wordpress.com/2014/12/06/mediji-po-samomoru-ravnatelja-moralizem-iskanja-krivca/

https://vezjak.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/kaj-o-mariborski-tragediji-pravijo-tuji-medijski-strokovnjaki/

 

 

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: