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Should brutal images be publically broadcast?

by on December 1, 2015

Several news lets choose not to broadcast disturbing images of people at the moment of their distress for different reasons. This is the case of Jon Banner, the executive producer of World News, who believes that “mixing in some of the video of Neda’s death would have distracted viewers from getting to know her story,” referring to “with video of Iranian death, what’s ok to Air?” Most likely, some readers might feel uncomfortable seeing photos of dead people, and those kind of disturbing images may cause more pain and heart breaking to family members. Despite this negative feeling however, not only Photographic and video images have the ability of revealing the truth in an effective way, but also it exposes wrongdoings. Thus, it increases the connection of people around the world throughout it “visual understanding.”(NPPA). According to the same code of ethic, photographic and video images “meant to serve as an educational tool both for those who practice and for those who appreciate photojournalism. The issue about broadcasting images despite the overwhelming distress that close parents may feel after they have seen it is that many time, people manipulate the images for the aim of increasing the impact of it before publication.  Photo alteration has become even worst especially with the arrival of the digital age era, which allows everyone to practice photojournalism at anytime and anywhere. This is one of the reason why some readers are skeptical about the credibility of photojournalism since they started losing trust of the work of photojournalists. Professional journalists should learn that manipulating images and adding or altering them in any way that can mislead viewers is unethical. And that may cause readers to doubt about the authenticity of photojournalism.

In my opinion, journalists should scrupulously choose the images that they may intend to published in addition to making a fair judgment of it role before publication. They should be able to answer the question of their own, which may sound like this, why a particular image should be published, and how much it will impact the audience. This does not mean that every picture should be broadcast if doing so does not make a difference. The truth is that there is no right or wrong answer about publishing disturbing images. The judgement should be coming from journalists, whatever they feel is fair and worth sharing would be the best to do so.



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  1. Personally, I think a lot of the time brutal images make a story stronger and I think when that is the case they should be used. However, if they don’t serve a true purpose then what’s the point? I agree with your take on how it should be up to the journalist and that they should use their best judgement on whether or not it is necessary. A journalist has more power then people tend to realize.

  2. I agree with the point you brought up regarding the distraction disturbing images can cast upon a story. Is it more important to publish the story first and have the importance be on the character and the events that took place, or rather publish the story with images and let the images tell the story to the reader first. Although each piece is unique in its own, I believe photos can reveal and enhance a story especially ones of this caliber. Photos can sometimes help a reader relate to the emotion and heartbreak in a story when they wouldn’t normally be able to relate.

  3. I agree that it is ultimately in the journalist’s hands whether or not an image should be published or not, but I believe that most images should be published. Even if they are considered too graphic like the images of dead people, I think these images are important subjects of news for viewers, because they reveal a troubling situation. It is also important to report honestly and fully — leaving out footage of Neda’s death is not completing her story and not reporting honestly for viewers.

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