A teaching moment missed is how Minister of Education Ronald Jones has described the publishing of and subsequent fallout from a story carried in another section of the media about two school students who were videotaped having sex.
The video made its rounds on the social networking site Facebook and via Blackberry Messenger and Whatsapp.
Speaking during the start of a United Nations-sponsored two-day Consultation On Comprehensive Sexuality Education at the Accra Beach Resort, the minister questioned whether such reporting was what was needed in such a circumstance.
“Now if you saw something on social media, and you pull a still shot of it and put in on the back page of your paper, but then you give a link to where to find the video, and in your story you give a description . . . , that is wrong! The teaching moment has been missed.
“The opportunity to change or help to change a nation . . . and then you are scrambling story after story to give an explanation. There is no explanation you can give now. You
have already debased yourself and you have debased the Director of Public Prosecution can look to see if any laws
nation . . . . To me, it is a wicked and malicious attempt to sell newspapers; if not, it we are dealing with another whole level of perversion,” an upset Jones said.
Placing his cards on the table in what he deemed a frank discourse, the minister noted that it would be foolhardy to believe that hundreds of thousands of young people across the world were not engaging in some form of sexual activity, in some “little corner”.
“. . . Because just like hunger drives us to eat, our sexual responses are just as strong. But, it [can be] controlled by certain mores and certain values and certain standards, certain ethics within our whole lives and whole existence. Therefore there are things that we have to inculcate in people from the very beginning of their lives.
“The school system –– the school environment –– is but one of the places where we have to start that initial education about who we are and why we are here, what we do. Otherwise, we will live in the farm or on the farm. Living in the farm, we behave like the animals of the farm,” a livid Jones said.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY after his presentation, the Minister of Education spoke of how his ministry would deal with the matter, suggesting that all-out punishment might not be the right approach.
“I think for those who took the video, based on our legislation [the Computer Misuse Act 2004], . . . the
have been broken. I am not a lawyer, so therefore I can’t say; [but] the persons who videotaped and uploaded . . . that lies squarely with them.
“But that is the youth themselves, and I don’t know that a custodial environment is going to make a difference . . . . [They have] to be brought in and shown that they have caused severe pain, hurt, and have broken the laws of the land.
“There then needs to be a contract between them and the society to be of service; to do some community service; to do something, because you have damaged society in an awful way.”
“As for the media house involved, they would more than likely say that they have a right to show and demonstrate, but there are certain boundaries over which they should not travel,” Jones argued. “I’m not going to say that this or that should happen to them; but they went over in a rather vicious way.
“Every media institution whether print or radio or television or Internet should have certain levels of self-control . . . . In this case, where was the editor, the managing editor, the publisher? They always have to have an eye on something. If in their minds they said that this is what we are going to carry, then something is rudely wrong there –– from top to bottom.” (RG)