Death and social media

Social Media etiquette is far from universally agreed. FILE PIC
Social Media etiquette is far from universally agreed. FILE PIC

When the sad news of Gomolemo Motswaledi’s death broke last week, a debate ensued in the Mmegi newsroom. After securing confirmations of Motswaledi’s fatal accident from key sources, the newsroom was torn as to whether to break the news of the death announcement on social media.

Despite all the confirmations, some of the reporters regarded the news as too insensitive because it was “too early to report it”.  There was an argument that, “family members might not be aware of the incident,” and so the newspaper should be decent and wait for relatives to be informed or for an official announcement to be made, before they could break the “news”.  Most of the journalists who held this view argued that it was only human to withhold the announcement, adding that this discretion was also in line with Setswana/African cultural norms where close relatives are informed of deaths before the wider public.

Others, however, opined that Motswaledi was not an ordinary human being and his death could not be held like that of an ordinary mortal. Notwithstanding the debate on whether public figures have a right to private, this section of the newsroom felt that if authoritative confirmation had been secured, then social media constituents could be informed. 

Editor's Comment
Has life become worthless?

As many wondered what wrong the young boy could have done to end up killed, it emerged that his own cousin was a suspect in the murder after he claimed P50,000 from Botswana Life. Thato Tsametse, who was last week sentenced to death for the murder of his cousin, had reportedly taken out two Mmoloki Funeral Covers valued at P25,000 each.Over the years, the media has been covering the murder case, and some revelation has come up that certain...

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