The ethics of voyeurism

TN News

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Video sharing is a great example of the potentials of information technology.

Video sharing has the ability to transport viewers all over the world, into the homes, workplaces and classrooms of normal people just like them.

However, it also often reveals the worst aspects of the human character.

Last month, thousands of Vietnamese viewers watched a schoolteacher teacher abuse her three-year-old student in the southern province of Binh Duong. The now infamous clip shows the teacher repeatedly splashing water over the child's face, stomping on her body, pinning her to the floor and shouting at her.

We have also learned how schoolgirls these days settle their conflicts. In one clip, two girls fought with each other, tearing shirts, slapping face, and grabbing hair. In another, two or three attacked their victim with animal ferocity, cutting her hair and dragging her along the street.

As one after another are posted online, schoolgirls appear to be more dangerous than ever.

Most recently, viewers were shocked by footage of police officers in the northern province of Quang Ninh writing up a pair naked sex workers. One officer even ordered the women, who tried to cover their bodies with their hands, to stop blocking their private parts so he could take photos.

The clips outraged us, making us feel sympathy for victims all over the country, be they a helpless child or degraded sex workers.

We wonder where our moral standards are. Where are the authorities? Where is the law? How can people treat each other in such an inhumane way?

But, in our outrage we seem to let the voyeurs off the hook.

The film makers and part of viewers are probably the most inhumane party involved.

After all, the clips were posted online instead of being submitted to the authorities, and they were spread all over the Internet.

When posting and re-posting the clips, the people describe them as "shocking," "scary," "heartbreaking," among other adjectives.

But, all the words must have been intended to replace one word describing their true feeling "content" to discover the dark sides of humanity and to reveal them to the public.

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