Do We Have to Blame Voyeurism?Some of the press, in reporting the release of a videotaped sexual act by a famous pop singer, Baek Ji-yeong, over the Internet, showed the young singer making an apology in tears, and denounced us, the viewers, as voyeurs. What has she done so wrong that she is making an apology to the public? Does she really need to apologize for being engaged in a sexual act like other adults? Is it her fault that the videotaped account of her encounter was released to the public without her knowing about it? Are we sure that the press is not responsible for invading her privacy?
In this case, some of the press seemed to invade the privacy of an individual immorally. The papers rushed to cover their front pages with the story about the release over the Internet, but failed to focus their criticism against the person who stole and released the tape. Instead, the press paid more attention to revealing the private life of the singer to the public. Furthermore, a television program proudly broadcast an exclusive interview with the man, identified only as Mr. Kim, who claimed to be the male partner in the videotaped encounter.
These newspapers and television programs all put out their best efforts to seize more viewers and readers by trampling on an individual. Most importantly, the press also supported the argument of some social circles that we who have viewed the information － in this case, her sexual encounter freely posted on the Internet － are voyeurs.
I strongly believe that the previous such incident, when a videotaped sexual encounter of the actress Oh Hyeon-kyeong was also released over the Internet, was not concluded appropriately. By failing to deal with the incident, which triggered the controversy over voyeurism in our society for the first time, we failed to prevent similar disasters.
Although invasion of privacy is clearly an action of infringing human rights, the person who suffered from the invasion is still being criticized, while the one, who trampled on human right still runs his business triumphantly. Moreover, we who observed these incidents have been accused of being voyeurs. Why do we have such a society?
The man identified only as Kim in this incident is also a victim of invasion of privacy but seems to be unaware of his unfortunate status of having been manipulated. How pitiful he is! It was also reported that the person who released the tape could have earned tremendous profits.
The press, which is supposed to put out its best efforts to reveal the criminal who is making money by trampling on an individual, is instead concentrating on worrying if the public is a collection of voyeurs.
We should realize that our society definitely has a distorted way of thinking. Invasion of privacy can harm not only a famous pop singer, but also all of us. Every day, uncountable numbers of serious reports are made by victimized citizens to the center for the prevention of sexual violence online. Hidden cameras attack innocent citizens from public restrooms to hotels nationwide. Victims appeal that they cannot continue living ordinary lives in our society due to the tremendous burden of shame.
Criminals are raising money by taking advantage of our ignorance, and some parts of the press rush to increase readers and viewers by twisting our lack of caution and care. We have no reason to benefit those criminals and the press. We should not only protect ourselves from being treated as voyeurs unintentionally, but also contemplate what human right infringement truly means to us.
We have to transform ourselves. We should hunt down the people who illegally benefit from those hidden cameras. We also need to prevent human right infringements before the press can find a chance to manipulate us by treating an individual as a topic of popular interest. We should change our views to get to the root of the matter.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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