Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 19th 2018 Contents A4 editorial
Friday, January 19, 2018
changed the man-
ner in which news of
crime is disseminated,
received and reviewed
due to the advent of
‘social media reporters’.
For some people, ‘social media
reporters’ or civilian reporters are
an important facet of information
dissemination in the contemporary
However, within recent times
some citizen reporters operate
without standards - information
verification and professional eth-
The exponential advances in
technology, as well as the com-
mon thought that hiding behind
the internet on social media makes
individuals stronger, causes unre-
Thus, quite often the informa-
tion disseminated via social media
is untrue, libellous and slanderous
and brings into question the im-
pact of social media reporting on
victims of crime.
I have often wondered about the
positives and negatives associated
with social media reporting and its
impacts on victims of crime in our
There are many potential neg-
atives of both accurate and inac-
curate social media information
related to victims of crime that so-
cial media reporters, as well as the
information-hungry public, should
be wary of.
These include the loss of pri-
vacy, as personal information once
placed onto the internet is forever
in the public domain and can be
accessed and used by anyone.
We should also be mindful that
gullible individuals generally tend
to believe what is posted on social
media sites without verifying the
source, reliability and/or credibil-
ity of the information.
Finally, victims of crime, their
families and friends can discover
devastating untruthful information
on social media about themselves
as well as their victimised loved
hile there are
media, it can also be a positive out-
let for victims and their families.
Increasingly, victims of crime are
turning to social media to get their
stories in the public domain.
They also use social media to
garner support for their causes
and to advocate for changes to the
criminal justice system.
Victims also use social media
to search for answers to existing
mysteries such as who killed their
loved one, or to find missing family
However, the trauma suffered by
victims of crime and their families
is deep, takes time to process and
often leaves deep-seated psycho-
Therefore, inaccurate (or even
accurate) information bandied
about on social media after crim-
inal victimisation borders on
being unconscionable at times,
as victims’ addresses, workplaces
and the identities of children and
spouses are often revealed and
circulated without a care for their
safety and security.
Thus, before we hastily engage
social media, let us be sure to con-
sider all the possible risks, traumas
and benefits to victimised individu-
als and their families.
As responsible citizens, we owe a
duty of care to victims of crime and
we must be careful as to the con-
tents of our posts on social media
as they have the potential to cause
untold harm to the victims of crime
and/or their family members.
•Dr Wendell C. Wallace is a barrister,
criminologist and university lecturer.
of the Tobago
House of Assem-
celebrate their first year in
office next week - January 25.
The motions set for discus-
sions and debates reflect the
diversity brought about by
the Progressive Democratic
Patriots winning two of the
12 electoral seats and forming
Prior to this, the assembly-
men had moved mundane
motions such as seeking to
reduce poverty and gain so-
cial cohesion with the aim
of enhancing the general
well-being and improving the
quality of life in the society.
That motion, brought by then
assistant secretary of Health
and Social Services Sheldon
Cunningham, who held the
responsibility for reducing
poverty and improving soci-
ety, exemplified the height
of debate and reflected the
kind of humdrum motions at
His motion sounded more
like a discussion that should
have taken place at the Exec-
utive Council level, but in any
event it was simply a case of
himself discussing with him-
self as the ruling People’s Na-
tional Movement then had all
12 electoral seats.
That being said, now that
there is an opposition, the
proclivity of assemblymen
to show their skills and exert
their authority by refusing
to either answer questions
properly or be generally dis-
ruptive has surfaced.
For instance, Lambeau/
Signal Hill representative
and Secretary of Sports and
Youth Affairs Jomo Pitt’s fa-
mous reply of “None,” to the
query on what is being done
to repair the Dwight Yorke
Stadium, will forever repre-
sent how a question should
never be answered at the Sit-
The public’s reaction and
his subsequent surprised
reaction to the hullabaloo
speaks volumes to how he
perceives his representative
role, especially when he is up
against the Trinidad element.
Prior to Pitt’s statements,
Presiding Officer Dr Den-
ise Tsoiafatt Angus had her
hands full with Roxborough/
Delaford representative and
Minority Leader Watson
Duke.Duke took the liberty of
inviting protesting workers to
the Sitting after he had held
a noisy protest with them at
James Park. Since then he
has been asked to be quiet on
many occasions and has gone
as far as refusing to send
customary seasonal Assem-
bly greetings to the nation’s
Heads of State.
Even Black Rock/Whim/
Spring Garden representative
and Chief Secretary Kelvin
Charles has been known rock
the Plenary boat. Asked about
the ferry situation by Duke
recently, the usually quiet
Charles jumped to his feet
telling Duke that unless the
question was properly asked
it would’nt be answered.
expect a cer-
actions must be based on
good manners and common
decency. Above all, they
must represent all of Tobago
by providing proper informa-
tion, direction and examples
of proper behaviour.
We thus appeal to all assem-
blymen to allow the Assembly
to function so that issues can
be addressed and solutions
sought to ongoing problems.
After all, Tobago’s future
leaders, the island’s children,
are looking on and waiting to
imitate their behaviour.
Tobago Today, Tomco Building, Plymouth Road, Scarborough.
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Impact of social media on victims of crime
Dr Wendell C Wallace
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