Friday, 21 October 2011

A new era

So unless you've be living under a rock you will be aware that yesterday Muammer Gaddafi was killed.

And with it has come an absolute personal outrage at the way the media has dealt with this.  Oh, it is undoubtedly news of enormous importance but it is not important for us to see extremely graphic images of Gaddafi's last minutes, of a bloody corpse being dragged through the streets of Sirte.

Because as Spiderman/Voltaire (whoever floats your boat!) said "with great power comes great responsibility" and the media industry without doubt wield huge power-but they also have responsibility to act in a manner that isn't just akin to gratuitous voyeurism.  The responsibility to use sensitive imaging in a responsible way if it is absolutely necessary to use it.  What we didn't need to see was row, after row of paper - tabloid and broadsheet - depicting the death throes of an old man on the front page.  How can I ensure my child isn't exposed to age inappropriate material when, in fact, it is pretty much unavoidable anywhere that sells the news.

I fully understand that the people of Libya needed actual photographic proof of the fall of Gaddafi.  We didn't need to see it.  We didn't need to see video footage of a man begging for his life before being shot.  We didn't need "breaking news" to pop up on the channel we were watching including an image with "Gaddafi killed"emblazoned across the screen.

The media is so quick to set itself up as moral arbiter of our viewing, sex scenes too full on, video games too violent.   Yet both of those things are age restricted -as a parent I can easily ensure my child avoids them. But I can also say as a parent I would far, far rather explain a sex scene or a video game to my five year old than what we have seen on the news today.

We are told it is a new era for Libya.  What I fear is that this heralds a new era when the press seems to have no willingness to even contemplate what may/may not be appropriate and necessary information.

As a human being with a human heart I hurt from what I have seen.  There is never, ever a reason to celebrate death.  We should have been focusing on what the future holds for the people of Libya rather than on the trophy killing of an individual.

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