By Chris Gibson
“Is the media response to the “Terror Arrest” inappropriate?”
That’s what I asked a few members of the UPEI student body yesterday. As most of us know, courtesy of the local and national news coverage, a UPEI student was arrested on Tuesday on a peace bond for “intent to carry out a terrorist act”, though details of what he is accused of are not forthcoming.
The student’s name has been released, and The Guardian and CBC PEI reporters have been trying to track him down for comment, the former quite adamantly according to students close to the accused. The Guardian went so far as to publish a picture of his residence on the front page of yesterday’s edition. Is this going too far?
A few of the students I approached had not heard of the allegations, and quite a few declined to comment. However, here are three opinions on the subject from those who did respond.
“See, I haven’t had the chance to understand the entirety of the situation, but from what I gather so far, I feel that releasing private information to the public and really jumping on this as an overblown situation is a little too far.” –Cody McKay, 5th year History
“I don’t know the guy by any means, I don’t even know his name. I’m just hoping the media has the right information, that they’re not making false [assumptions]. He’s a chemistry student, right? He would be looking up that kinda stuff. I feel like they may have jumped the gun a little bit.” – Will McGuigan, 1st year Business
“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. I think that the term ‘terrorist’ is thrown around a lot, especially since 9/11. Either we’re overusing that term…and it’s ridiculous to think that somebody who’s committing a terrorist act or thinking of committing a terrorist act was released on a $500 bail, which is the same bail if you, like, don’t go to court for whatever reason, that’s the bail that you get set at, too. It’s bullshit!” –Anonymous
In my opinion, I believe that attempting to interview a student while they are in class, as a reporter did according to unsubstantiated reports, is going too far. I also believe that publishing a picture of the student’s place of residence on the front page of a newspaper puts that student at risk for harassment or vigilante justice. Remember that this student is innocent until proven otherwise, and that it’s important to have all the information prior to making conclusions.