Look, he's got a camera!

I thought I went out for dinner, little did I know I would be in the shoot of a TV show - recorded without my consent.

Sidrah Moiz September 08, 2011

The other night I was out with friends for dinner at a restaurant when a famous TV chef and his entourage entered the restaurant. As everyone started filling their plates the cameraman turned on a dinky light. I looked around and saw the celebrity chefs weren’t the only ones who were being filmed. Everyone in the restaurant was -- of course, without unanimous consent.

Surprisingly, I seemed to be the only one who had a problem with this. Suddenly, there was a wave of excitement and another spell of filming and clicking — local celebrity Zubeida apa (I hate calling her apa, since she’s probably my grandmother’s age) had entered the restaurant.

I complained to the manager, but he refused to do anything.

The incident reminds me of what I come across in my media classes. I had been taught that invading someone’s privacy is as offensive as trespassing into someone’s territory. There are laws backing this — laws of defamation, trespassing, nuisance and surveillance.

The proper way to conduct a shoot in public places should include taking permission from the people present, or at the very least, informing them.

Compare this to how someone would have complained had I started filming them with my personal camera without permission.

But the problem is that people get excited when they see the camera. Everyone wants to be on TV and have their 15 minutes of fame. They don’t mind being filmed. They hand over themselves to the media.

A corporate lawyer (who teaches a friend of mine) who handles media law told his class that people hardly file cases against media organisations when their privacy is breached. The lawyer says this is probably because people are not even aware that such laws exist and that people have the right to sue a media organisation.

As a media studies graduate, I came to know about the ethics of journalism and norms that journalists need to consider when reporting. All of us, as consumers, are responsible for how far we allow the media to encroach upon our lives. If we grant it unnecessary power then we have no right to complain about it.

Sidrah Moiz
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