Newspapers should respect privacy of accident victims


RECENT pictures splashed across the front pages of certain newspapers in Guyana, depicting the victims of the carnage occurring on an almost daily basis on Guyana’s highways – some victims dead, some alive, some covered in blood – leaves me wondering whether the editorial and news staffs lack any concerns as to the possible negative psychological consequences of such gory displays, particularly to the young, and the privacy rights of the victims themselves.

I distinctly recall that, prior to this new trend, there was due exercise of restraint in the manner of reporting news involving accidents resulting in severe injuries and death. On television, across the civilised world, warnings would advise that, because of the graphic nature of certain scenes, their airing might not be appropriate for all family members, especially children and those faint of heart. One would expect the same standards to apply to newspapers, most of which today grace their front pages with colour photography. So it seems rather strange that newspapers in Guyana would choose to abandon adherence to proper standards in favor of reporting that is obviously meant to promote sensationalism.

I strongly urge a return to restraint and respect for victims’ rights in the way accidents are reported in Guyana’s newspapers.