Monday, May 24, 2010

Air crash: a question for media

Courtesy of Uday Rodrigues/ Mediamirchi

MANGALORE is still in the shock of Air India Air crash in Mangalore. It is the most horrific incident happened in Mangalore as well as the biggest tragedy in Indian aviation history. The entire world stood and expressed their sympathy & condolences on all of the families who lost their beloved ones and prayed for the departed soul. The incident is still alive as the reason for this tragedy yet known & the investigation is in progress. The devastating air crash in Mangalore has raised many issues on AI, runway & the airport. I would like to raise the issue of publishing photographs of dead bodies in the print and virtual front pages of most major news papers & the online websites.

I think the media has got something very important to consider when deciding what photographs to publish. Publishing the photographs that are so grotesque that it's almost disrespectful to the person viewing the photograph may disturb the week hearted people. Image of carrying the body of an injured/dead baby seriously devastating, especially to someone who is young, woman or weak. Yet, I would assume that the photographer’s purpose in taking the picture is to show how completely devastating this event was but its is seriously awful to view. One of my friend who is working for the medical field, she expressed her views like this “We all are so close to this incident and the photographs still come to my mind, though I am a medical professional, I would definitely can’t see such painful scenes…huhhh!!’ One of my other friend said that he can’t see the local news papers in Mangalore, it gives pain. I am personally, not visiting the online news websites which I usually visit since i saw some photographs. Some people even went ahead & uploaded photographs of dead bodies in Facebook which they shot on the spot of the incident.

Now here are some possible questions to consider.

1. What purpose would you have in showing such images?

2. What consequences do you foresee from depicting such images?

3. What will it want and/or need to see to understand such death?

4. What impact will images of death have on the viewers?

5. Will such pictures help the viewers understand the truth(s) of this tragedy?

6. Will the images help to make the people more knowledgeable about this horrific incident?

7. Just imagine, if any of your loving person was in that flight, would you like to show his/her body into pieces?

I remember the tragic death of AP Chief Minister YSR; the photographs were available but never published in any TV channels. Respecting the dead is very much appreciated in the western media and the western world . For all the years that American and British soldiers have died in what many now accept was an illegitimate war in Iraq, I have never seen a picture of blown up bodies or pieces of those soldiers in the western media as an attempt to show the world how gruesome the war has been.

Local media in Mangalore has always done a great job. It may the church attack, pub attack and now the worst tragedy of air crash. But I do strongly feel, publishing the photographs of dead bodies was not a good idea or its like lack of respect for dead people and their families. News organizations should decide about showing images of death will help or hinder the public understanding of this tragedy or it will make them to feel more horrific. I do feel they should avoid publishing, or refuse to show, such images.

These are my views. You agree with me or do not agree, please don’t forget to leave your honest comments here. We can bring it to the attention of our local media and there can be a change. I thank some of my friends who supported me to write this short article. God bless Mangalore.