#RandomMusings: Between Khadija Yusra Muhammad Sanusi II, Linda Ikeji and the concept of Right to Privacy in Cyber-World

Rights to PrivacyI love this letter by Khadija Yusra Muhammad Sanusi II, daughter of Emir of Kano, HRH Sanusi to blogger, Linda Ikeji. Simply because it speaks to a lot of issues, such as redefining our rights to privacy, especially in this age of social media access, our language and manner of engagement, especially online (‘Netiquette’).

It also addresses the issue of child marriage viz a vis the age of legal requirement for marriage (18 years), religious norms/freedoms juxtaposed against a prevailing social construct and value system, the sexualization of people (especially our description of young women), the power of educating a female child…etc.

Of particular interest to me is the issue of personal rights and freedoms. In this age of social media, are we slowly blurring the lines and violating boundaries when we share things and pictures about people, especially when they are not public figures? For instance, if someone shares their personal pictures on instagram or Facebook, are we not violating their privacy by lifting these pictures and using them OR are these pictures considered public property simply because they are shared in public domain?

Should there be rules/laws governing the use of pictures/images of private individuals? Would this be an issue if all the comments were positive and filled with praises? Should children of public figures (politicians, celebrities etc), be immune or shielded from press coverings or is this simply part of the price to be paid for being connected to such famous (or infamous) people?

Find below the letter from Khadija Yusra to Linda Ikeji, after the latter posted a picture of the former on her blog, which elicited a lot of negative comments.

 

“Hi Linda, I hope you’re well. I saw your blog post about my picture and although I am flattered that you think I’m stunning, I find the comments rather offensive. The comments could be classified under two categories: either made by perverts or made by people who used the opportunity to disregard my father’s marital affairs. I am aware that you cannot control your viewer’s opinions, but you violated my right of privacy by putting up pictures of me on your blog, when you don’t even know me personally.

There is more to a person than meets the eye. By putting up my pictures and describing me as “pretty” and “stunning”, you are judging me based on my physical appearances. Truth is, this is exactly what is wrong with the world. We reduce people and describe them using shallow and physical adjectives. For the commenter who insisted that I was only pretty with make up on, we live in a world full of Nigerians who spend hundreds, and even thousands on Brazilian and Indian wigs, bleaching creams and fake nails. And you are looking down on me because I am wearing make up?

And, in case you do speak to your commenters, please tell them that  I am not married for “royal ties”. And yes, I am older than my father’s last wife, but why should that be anybod ‘s business? To the ignorant commenter who shamed my father for marrying a young wife: My father is a Muslim and his marriage is legal before Islamic Law (look up Prophet Muhammad S.A.W‘s marriage to Nana Aisha). If The Almighty God permits his marriage, who are you to condemn it? Why should he please you, the creation, when he can please The Creator?

Going forward, I will appreciate it if you would be as kind as to remove my pictures from your blog so as to stop similarly insulting comments.

But do feel free to post this email on your blog because a lot of ignorant people that read your blog need an educated response. “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”.

– Khadija Yusra Muhammad Sanusi II.

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