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rebbel's avatar

Is it alright, for a journalist, to enter the uninhabited house of a son of Muammar Gaddafi?

Asked by rebbel (23527 points ) September 6th, 2011

I was watching CNN this evening and they showed a journalist who was entering the house of, I believe, Saadi Gaddafi.
He supposedly left the house in a hurry, as the journalist told us, because, for example, the table was ready to host some guests.
He walked through the rooms of the house and was going through papers he found on the ground.
Now, this Saadi may well be a bad guy (I don’t know) but does that mean that everybody who feels like it, can enter his premises without consent?
Isn’t that considered illegal house entering/burglary?
Is it morally justified?
What say you?

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18 Answers

flo's avatar

Did the journalist break in?

rebbel's avatar

You tell me. Please.
He entered it.
The (a) door was open when I came in the reportage.
I don’t know what it means legally, breaking in (does the door of a house needs to be broken down, or is it also burglary when the door is already wide open and then you enter?)

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t see a problem with it morally, but that’s because I may be biased in feeling reporters and journalists have a “duty” to get the raw story to us.

marinelife's avatar

I don’t see a problem with a journalist entering an abandoned house of a public figure. He broke no laws, correct?

Judi's avatar

The privacy laws are a bit different in that country.

josie's avatar

The “Western World” has already judged that Gaddafi, and by extension his family since they were operatives in his psychotic-cult of personality-statist form of government, is an outsider, a freak, and unworthy of standards reserved for the reasonable and civilized.
I agree with that assessment. I think he should get shot by Western commandoes.
That being said, it is only natural that a member of the press would pick up on that and act accordingly.

flo's avatar

If I go up to your house even if it wide open it would be illegal for me to enter. So, no the door doen’t have to be broken. But journalists are supposed to cover the news. I don’t see how journalists cannot go in and investigate considering the context.

rebbel's avatar

I understand that a journalist’s job it is to find news but I thought that they still have to abide the law.
He can only find out that the house is abandoned after he entered the house (without permission of the owner).
And is he allowed to read personal papers of the owner?
I am not a fan of the Gaddafis, for the record, just wondering about it.
Would you still say the same when you came back from a day out and you found someone snooping around in your house?
Would a Libyan journalist get the same reception had he taken a look in the White House (supposing Obama was not at home and the guards were taking a nap)?

flo's avatar

But look at the state of the country,who are the journalists supposd to get permission from? No comparison with Obama example.

kamikaze's avatar

I think its wrong because you can’t just go into someone’s house and look into their stuff. This Saadi dude might be bad might but if he didn’t invite you, you shouldn’t be at his house. I mean I would’ve called the cops or something. I say its illegal. This person should be in jail!!!!

zenvelo's avatar

If those in control (the freedom fighters) allowed it or did nothing to stop it, then it was okay. The residence is rightfully the property of the Libyan people; it was paid for by funds plundered by the Qaddafis from the people.

In 2003, Saddam’s central palace in Baghdad became part U.S.Military headquarters, and a recreation center for US troops (it had a huge swimming pool). My brother, who was there on private business went through his house. The Husseins weren’t in a position to complain.

Jellie's avatar

This is all assuming that the law of trespass is the same there as it is in most countries.

With him being a reporter I can imagine he was itching to go in and get the inside “story” so to speak, however, I have my reservations.

The law or morality does not exist to be ignored when you are faced with a criminal or murderer or dictator. They are to be respected and obeyed even when you are standing opposite someone like Saadi Gadaffi. We have to remember that laws are in place to prevent us from one day establishing some arbitrary form of justice where if we can justify an act to ourselves then we are exonerated from it.

Arrest the man, try him nationally or in the international courts imprison him, hang him, whatever. Thinking that you can walk onto his property and touch his personal belongings because he’s an established “bad man.” No. You are breaking the law and you don’t have the right.

And I don’t see how anyone can morally justify entering another person’s personal property just because he’s a criminal.

edit: even journalists are required to abide by a code of ethics.

mattbrowne's avatar

Al-Saadi al-Gaddafi was the commander of Libya’s Special Forces and is involved in the current Libyan civil war. An Interpol notice has been issued against him. Speaking to BBC Panorama, a Libyan soldier claimed that Saadi had personally ordered to shoot unarmed protesters in Benghazi.

His house was abandoned. The journalist is documenting the civil war. His entering was alright.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saadi_Gaddafi

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