by Mac Olsen
Being in media, I shouldn’t be the one to pronounce suppression of any form of media, including social media.
Freedom of the press and ‘the public has the right to know’ is what we’re supposed to be about, after all.
But given the graphic content and the possibility of enflamed strife and conflict, perhaps it’s time for a conversation between all media formats, government and social activists.
One example of that is the very graphic video clips that were showing up on Facebook, of the dead and injured people following the terrorist attack in Nice, France on July 14.
It was very disturbing to see the injured people – and possibly dead people, too – in that video. It was also disturbing to think that someone would even get a video clip of that incident and post it on social media.
I think whoever did that erred greatly, even immorally. They should have thought of the possible consequences of posting it, especially with the possibility of upsetting and traumatizing the families and friends of the victims.
When I cover collisions, fires and other incidents as part of my job, I have to be careful about publishing graphic or traumatic photos. I do that out of respect for the people involved in the incident and their families.
On the world stage, shouldn’t that apply to terrorist incidents like the one in Nice, France? Don’t the victims and their families deserve the same consideration and sensitivity?
We can also look at the strife and conflict that’s taking place between African-American groups and law enforcement over blacks being shot and killed, especially teens.
The so-called ‘Black Lives Matter’ groups have been on a campaign to draw attention to alleged police brutality against African-Americans, and using tactics such as blocking highways and major streets.
True, on social media, there have been video clips of police apprehending and arresting people with what appears to be excessive force, even brutal.
On the other hand, I’ve also see one posting where a number a number people were recording the same arrest of an African-American and there were others trying to intervene against the arrest. It makes you wonder if the incident was manufactured so that activists could wrongly accuse the police of unnecessary force in arresting that person.
I’ve also seen video clips on social media of people assaulting other people just for the pleasure of doing it.
Often, the victim suffers serious injury and those around him or her just turn their gaze or offer no assistance.
That’s the kind of enflamed strife and conflict that all media should be pulling the reins in on. This is where the print and broadcast media, social media, government, police, social activists and others should agree to a ban on such graphic content.
And when an incident like the one in Nice, France occurs, then an automatic publication ban and self-policing should take place, to eliminate the risk of enflaming it.