Watching the dead, bloody body of a murderer being dragged through the streets of Libya on daytime television was a turning point in media practice. A rare moment the next morning, when the National Press in unison chose to run front page pictures of the deceased and bullet punctured body of Colonel Gadaffi. A question now hangs over whether Levenson's enquiry into media practice will seize the moment to scrutinise what is acceptable viewing for daytime broadcasting, print and on-line media.

The PCC and Ofcom have failed in their remit to protect the innocence of the young. Section 1.1 of Ofcom's code in Protecting the Under-Eighteens states: "Material that might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of people under eighteen must not be broadcast".

I personally was upset by the footage of a two-year-old Chinese girl, Wang Yue, repeatedly ran down by vehicles who recently died from her injuries. Has a line been crossed by the media under pressure from commercial interests by showing these images? Have your say here.

Comments

For me, the worst moment in the whole Gadffi death saga was not with the pictures being displayed on the front of every major newspaper in the UK, but when the pictures were broadcast on BBC's Breakfast. I have always considered this to be a programme that parents would put on in the morning as they get ready for work and prepare their kids for school, and with this in mind its has clearly crossed the line, and not by a small margin.

Similarly with the Sun's headline following his death, the level by which they abandoned all decency was startling. And I don't even think that if a decision was made so that graphic content could be lets say, only published online, that it would resolve the issue.

I was disgusted by this Mail article today, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-2052436/Marco-Simon... , which not only shows the incident in video (which has now been removed), providing a helpful warning of graphic content, but then repeats frames from it over and over again. Even with a warning, there is a sense of decency that needs to be held when handling events as tragic as this. The Mail has clearly published them just because they are available, not even taking into account whether a normal reader would want to see them. I'm sure if someone was so sickeningly desperate to want to see them it would not be hard for them to google it.

I'm all for press freedom, but when publishing such images in the middle of an article, or on the front/ back page of a paper and on TV has become such common place, something clearly needs to be done to restore a sense of decency into the press.

 

If anyone is interested in taking this argument about suitable images further the Student debating society at Canterbury is having an event on November 8th at 6pm. They will debate whether or not gruesome images of war should be shown and if so what are the justifications. I  have been asked to introduce the event and talk about some of the issues, then it is open to students to discuss and argue the case for both sides. At the end there will be three judges (including me) who will decide the winner on the basis of how well the case has been put. (Your own studentl version of X Factor! ) I don't know more than that at the moment but when I find out I can pass on the details if anyone is interested. Since Journalism students are the ones that might be making such decisions in the future if would be good if their opinions could be heard.

I agree, there is no excuse for broadcasting such graphic images so soon after such a tragic accident. The  PCC details that intrusions into grief or shock are against the code of practice. But this behaviour by the MoS will go unpunished by the PCC as it is run by editors of the National Press including the Mail's very own Paul Dacre. It is like bankers regulating the banks and the current media enquiry by Lord Leveson needs to grasp the nettle before the liberty of the press is curtailed to its own detriment. A free press is paramount to democracy, but not when it drives a horse and coaches through it's own code of conduct.

Fine lines.