malaysia airliner

Heartless Broadcasts Adding To MH17 Anquish

When we went to Malaysia for daughter’s wedding I excitedly took pictures of the plane, shops Malaysian style and twin towers.

When we flew over far flung places there was excitement and thrill – no doubt the passengers on the ill fated plane were the same. Malaysian airways were fantastic and now, there is worry about their future.

malaysian shops

I feel absolutely sickened by the so called news sense of the ITN editor who decided on Monday night that it was right to show the hand of one of the victims of MH17 clearly visible in an open body bag on the refrigerated train. The camera close up was stomach churning and awful.

They also showed soldiers holding hankies to their noses, highlighting that the stench was unpleasant – another unwelcome piece of graphic coverage best kept for inquests and not national television.  Mourning families have enough to contend with without heartless broadcasts like this adding to their agony.

The same broadcast which had a close up of the hand had the nerve to highlight the anguish of a mother who spoke about how she was tortured by thoughts of what the death scene was like.  A clear case of double standards by the broadcaster.

Years ago I remember an editor on a newspaper I worked for banning a photograph of a body bag onboard a fishing boat following a drowning.  It was thought readers would find it too distressing. Has the audience changed so much that we have to see every horrible detail?  Can’t anything be left to the imagination?

Newspapers and broadcasters don’t spare our sensibilities these days.  One of the websites warns tonight that some of the photographs depicted are distressing. Good.  But the images are not nearly as unpleasant as the one I had the misfortune to endure on the ITN broadcast after watching the heart warming programme of lost families.

malaysian twin towers

It will be a long time before I can sleep tonight.  I couldn’t help seeing it and I felt physically sick, especially as some of my relatives travelled on a plane from Malaysia a couple of days before the disaster and thoughts about it are extremely raw in our household.

I have probably travelled on the same route as the stricken aircraft on a Malaysian aircraft without realising or even considering the potential danger.  Air travellers generally don’t think of these things.  They somehow feel immune.  I wonder if they will, in future.

Even without this closeness to the subject I don’t need to be shown terrible images to know that the death and destruction in the fields where the wreckage came to rest are terrible. I have covered enough inquests in my time and seen graphic photographs to know that violent death is unpleasant.  Those pictures I have seen in courts have NOT been thought suitable for public gaze.  They have been the reserve of the coroner and medical experts.

There doesn’t seem to be any respect for the dead these days.  Reporters have even been seen picking through belongings of the latest victims.  Another BIG no no. I say enough is enough. What do you think?

carla delaneyCarla Delaney Communications
Business Writer of the Year Award Winner
01628 526456

One thought on “Heartless Broadcasts Adding To MH17 Anquish

  1. Carla, I share your sense of shock and your horror at the graphic broadcasting in the public domain of the manifestation-of-evil-in-action. There is a place for this material – but not for indiscriminate live broadcast. It is dangerous to allow human pain and subjectively experienced trauma and suffering to be treated by the mass media as if they are a product to be delivered ‘raw’ in ‘raw form. Thank you for highlighting this appalling, mindless practice which demonstrates clearly an appalling lack of top-down leadership in the communications and broadcasting industry. With kind regards, Franciszka Magdalena, Phd, Business Psychologist, Winner of the Personel today/ Henley Management College Leading for Sustainability Award 2007.


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