A picture's worth a thousand words, but what about YouTube?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

by Peter Merchlewitz

Following my last blogs' theme of censorship, I found myself once again at David Lee's jBlog, and this time, he's not talking about cropping sections of a photo from a Middle East reporter, but this time, he tackles the topic of removing footage from video.

Peter Horrocks, head of the BBC newsroom, posted on the BBC Editors' Blog, commenting on the YouTube clip showing gunman Matti Juhnai Saari, stating:

"Our competitors chose to run the full footage of Matti Juhnai Saari issuing his threat 'You will die next', followed by him firing towards the camera and the explosion of pieces of fruit across the lens as his bullets found their target. The BBC chose only to run the verbal threat, but not the firing or the splattered fruit."

Well, that's all well and good...but the fact of the matter is, you lied. As it turns out, the BBC did end up showing the YouTube clip in its entirety. However, when the six o' clock news came on, the BBC had ended up censoring the clip. Is there even a valid reason as to why the BBC would want to edit the showing of the clip?

First off, news is news, no matter how graphic or violent it is. At least have the newscaster comment on the graphic nature of the video clip, and then offer viewer discretion. Secondly, wouldn't the YouTube clip be considered a terrorist act? By definition, terrorism is the act of using violence and threats to intimidate or coerce the public. So by that means, wouldn't the BBC be fueling terrorism by editing their broadcast of the shooting clip during their news?

The clips were shown, Mr. Horrcks, so why lie?


Dave September 25, 2008 at 5:42 AM  

Woah woah, let's steer clear of the fueling terrorism debate. The BBC certainly isn't doing that.

My stance is, I have no problem with the BBC showing the footage in full. I believe caution should be used (News at Ten only, perhaps) as it's pretty frightening to watch.

The thing I took exception to was the BBC saying they hadn't shown it, when I know full well they had.

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