View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Social networking - the downside

I reported in my previous post on an aircrash in Libya, in which 70 Dutch people were killed. One survived, a boy of 9 called Ruben. His full name was splashed across the Dutch media this afternoon, and lists of possible casualties are circulating. The Internet permitted me to watch a newsconference by the Dutch Foreign Minister, Maxime Verhagen, and one thing jumped out at me. It appears that journalists and other media workers have been raiding social networking sites in the Netherlands for information and pictures of those killed, and of the little survivor. It is extremely distressing for the families of those concerned, at a time when the identity of those thought to have died has not yet been confirmed.

I am absolutely disgusted with the attitude of some of the Dutch presspack, and hope the appeal from the Foreign Minister will be heeded.

Further coverage (in English) can be obtained from Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

Thursday 13 May

An aircrash at an airport near Tripoli, Libya, has claimed 103 lives, of whom 59 Dutch. The Foreign Affairs ministry in Holland quotes the death toll of its citizens as 70. The sole survivor was a 9-year old boy from the southern city of Tilburg. I'm dismayed at the lightning speed of commercialisation of poor Ruben's plight, even before he himself is aware of the death of the rest of his family. The cause of the crash is being investigated.

It is not a very good day in the Western Isles, in terms of weather. Overcast with spells of light rain, although it is not as cold as of late - we've managed double figures. Over the next week or so, we should warm up very slowly.

Elsewhere in Scotland, the MV Silver Fjord is in difficulties, 3 miles west of Noup Head in Westray, Orkney. Coastguard tug Royal Sovereign was seen in the vicinity (courtesy AIS), but at the moment, the Silver Fjord is under tow by the tug Harald, headed south towards Kirkwall at 6 knots. At that speed, it will take about 6 hours to reach the safety of the Orkney capital.

Here in Stornoway, there is a discussion about the granting of a license to serve alcohol for consumption on and off the premises of the Golf Club on Sundays. Opening the club for the purpose of playing golf is already controversial, but now voices have been raised against the serving of drink as well. The former doesn't do any harm, the latter can give rise to disorderly conduct as we all know. However, plenty of pubs open in Stornoway on the Sabbath (sic), so one more boozer on the list won't make much of a difference.