Grief is difficult enough without it having undergo the additional burden of public scrutiny.
Here are some things to remember when writing or shooting stories about the bereaved. I hope we all remember these five points this week as the nation mourn’s a much-beloved son.
1. Never ask the bereaved, “How do you feel?” If you’ve been through a loss, you’ll know the answer to that one. If you haven’t, be sensitive and don’t ask. It’s really a no-brainer when you think about it.
2. Unless you have been granted access, please keep your cameras at a safe and respectful distance while taking footage. Pag umiiyak, awat na. Grief is not for public consumption even if the person was a public official or a celebrity.
3. Spare the children. I cannot emphasize this enough. Any child below the age of 18 must be shielded from the glare of the cameras or spared from having to answer questions that may be emotionally damaging. Talk to the adults, not the children. Let them be, and allow them to be children.
4. Please give the bereaved their private space. Grief takes so much out of the body — emotionally, physically, psychologically. Wait for a spokesperson. Do not intrude into their sadness.
5. Be very careful and prudent about the words you use and the visuals you choose. Remember, what you say, write or post is there for all eternity. Do not sow intrigue, cast blame, or be insensitive. Always place yourselves in the shoes of the bereaved. Ask yourself this question — “Kung ako ba nasa kalagayan nya, makakatulong ba ito?”