Today on the net, a student’s suicide sparks outrage in the Philippines; the online mug shot industry is at the centre of lively debate in the US; and the British Finance Minister makes a rather noteworthy Twitter debut.
Student’s suicide sparks outrage in the Philippines
Last Friday 16 year old Kristel Tejada from the Philippines committed suicide … a student at the University in Manila, she came from a modest background and because she was no longer able to pay her tuition fees, the university administration forced her to take a leave of absence, apparently prompting her to take her own life.
The story has sparked an outpouring of sympathy and anger online. Many have taken to Twitter to condemn the policy of putting high tuition fees above education itself. Some are calling for the university officials to resign, whilst others are criticizing the government and president of the Philippines.
In a Facebook post Student Representative Cleve Arguelles says Kristel Tejada did not commit suicide, he thinks she was given no choice, and was killed by a system that refuses to accept education is a fundamental right. Other students have also been sharing their grief and frustrations via the social network … seeking justice, saying everyone should have the opportunity to attend university, that money and fees should not be such an obstacle.
Former student Alyanna Morales has written a blog post blaming the University for preventing Kristel from attending her classes purely for financial reasons. She says the university prides itself on its values and excellence but in no way does this incident reflect that. She hopes this tragic episode will serve as a lesson, and tuition fee legislation will be rapidly revised.
USA: websites making profit from police mugshots
Actress Lindsay Lohan turned herself in to the California Police Department on Tuesday after she pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges stemming from a car crash, and shortly after she was released, her latest mug shot was too, and it has since been relayed by media and gone viral.
In the majority of US states, mug shots which are taken after a suspect is arrested are public domain. Released by the police services, these pics have now become something of an online business; there are now dozens of sites compiling these far from flattering photos and then demanding money for them to be taken down.
It’s a form of racketeering, blackmail; these people have been arrested but are innocent until proven guilty. Some have since been exonerated of charges, whilst others have done their time, served their sentence and would like to move on with their lives. But nowadays unfortunately there are a number of websites relaying and circulating these mug shots, and it’s highly unlikely they’ll ever disappear from the web completely.
A collective complaint against these mug shot websites has been lodged in the state of Ohio and new legislation is under consideration in Florida in a bid to tackle the issue. But as this Havard University blog point out, all these proposals infringe the First Amendment to the US Constitution which guarantees freedom of expression. And so in the meantime these somewhat unscrupulous sites continue to rake it in.
Now trending on social networks
British Finance Minister George Osborne unveiled the UK’s 2013 budget on Wednesday, and also took the opportunity to make his Twitter debut with this message about the country’s economy. He got a rather frosty reception from netizens, many of whom, as they embark on another year of government imposed austerity measures aimed at reducing public deficit, have engaged in a little name calling : condemning the cuts mapped out in the Minister’s new budget.
Batman proudly bearing the Nike Logo, Iron Man promoting fast food chain McDonalds and Flash Gordon, a fine representative of energy drink Red Bull : this is the work of artist Roberto Vergati Santos who has imagined famous superheroes going down the human billboard or sandwich men, route… and it may well give marketing executives some food for thought...
Video of the day
This YouTube video features a young woman from Croatia and is called « One photo a day in the worst year of my life »: She took a photo of herself every day throughout 2012, and whilst she initially seems happy, radiant even, as times goes by we see cuts and bruises start to appear on her face. In the last frame, she holds up a piece of paper with a message reading “ help me, I don’t know what tomorrow will bring”. This video is in fact part of a campaign to raise awareness about domestic violence and help battered women.