There are so many great things about journalism. It strives to be investigative, and factual. To deliver news swiftly and accurately (hopefully) to the readers. But somewhere along the way we lost this amazing thing. Journalism became a competition of who can create the flashiest headline – which most of the time would just be clickbait. The information is frequently inaccurate and misinformed. Like when according to a particular local newspaper,
which was obviously not up with the times, Kurt Cobain loved the new Star Wars Movie. Kurt-dead-for-years-Cobain.
Last year, a three-year-old Syrian child died at sea. His lifeless body, washed on the shore, became an image that changed the way we discussed the migration crisis. That’s great, right? Something good came out of his death. Well, he wasn’t the first child to die on those kinds of journeys, and he won’t be the last, discussion or no discussion. The problem is that his body was used for propaganda, not respect.
When there was that mass shooting at a Kenyan University, no one thought to blur out the warzone-like images that were captured. When did we forget that they are human too? That they have families, who really did not need to see those images? And when did we become so desensitized towards these horrors?
Yesterday, a bomb exploded inside a car, engulfing it and the driver in flames. The photo which was uploaded on a local news site did not blur out the numberplate. The daughter of the owner of that car saw the photo, recognized the numberplate, and was convinced that her father had died engulfed in flames. It turned out that her father hadn’t been the one driving, but it doesn’t eliminate the fact that that photo was still uploaded containing identifying factors – before the police could identify the victim to notify the family. In the rush to be the first to release such dramatic news, on an island which is generally quite uneventful, those journalists forgot that the person inside that car has loved ones, and they deserved to be told the news by the appropriate authorities in a gentle manner.
There may not be any clear laws in Malta to prevent these situations, but it should just be common sense. Or at least, common courtesy to respect each other – regardless if that other person is living or dead.