The Death of Muammar Gaddafi And Ethical Journalism

22 10 2011

On Thursday, the death of Libyan Dictator Muammar Gaddafi was whispered throughout the media landscape around 6:00 a.m. eastern time. Rumors of a battered and blooded Gaddafi being strung throughout the streets of Sirte, his hometown, filled message boards, twitter and social networks. The implications of such a death impacted the Libyan people, but those rioting in nearby Syria, Palestine and Egypt. The symbolic image of a disfigured tyrant like Gaddafi could spark hope in those demonstrating against similar men formed in the same ilk.

There is a problem with such encouragement: it forces media to introspectively look at itself when it comes to showing graphic images, and what ethical consequences could stem from such actions. This issue challenges every editor, producer and stockholder in the media industry. For such a momentous event in Libyan history to be plastered on every newspaper cover and front page of major news network could have dire repercussions on the way ethical standards are adjusted or construed in the future.

In my opinion, the death of a tyrant should be depicted for all of those oppressed freedom in the world. It shows how even though a man that ruled for four decades can be brought to his demise by the will of the people. As journalists we must remain objective and ethical in every decision we make, but we must also give a voice to the oppressed and downtrodden of society.

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