The horrific events in Woolwich yesterday are shocking enough but I can’t help but worry about about the front pages of the British media and their choice of images. I have to say that I’ve found the Guardian’s front page the most worrying in that the picture and quote could easily be used as a rallying cry for other radicalised extremists. It would be hypocritical of me to reproduce it here.
To be clear I am not saying don’t show such pictures or shield people from real life events but I find it irresponsible to plaster a front page with a blood soaked extremist brandishing a meat cleaver whilst quoting his own words that indicate that anybody else may be next.
Front pages are on public display in places where people of all ages including the very young and impressionable can see them. Let alone available in the family home.Is it responsible that the very young should see gratuitous images of violence or even implied violence in the name of circulation wars?
I’m not saying censor these images but newspaper front pages are on public display to all who should happen to glance at a news stand. The Daily Express out of all the papers may have been the most responsible front page layout by reporting the story, only showing a small picture that shows an air ambulance arriving on the front page and keeping the gratuitous images for inside the paper itself.
It’s much the same in tragic cases of serial murders. The media give killers the very publicity they crave and it often fans the flames and appears to sometimes encourage copycat events. I’m not saying under report it. I’m not saying don’t ask the questions that need to be asked but don’t unwittingly become an extension of the very terrorism and violence you (the media) report on and end up a recruiting agent for others who may be on the verge of undertaking or thinking or undertaking the similar acts of violence.
Of course the media will say they have to compete for readers and they’re giving the public what they want. We shouldn’t always get what we want. It may not be good for us in the long run.
Others, of course may disagree.