News visual of a dead body shocks me as a journalist

From Dhaka’s Adabar Area, police recovered the dead body of a five-year old boy, Samiul Azim, the only child of textile chemical supplier AR Azam. 

Samiul was a student of Greenwoods Kindergarten School who used to live in a flat on the fourth floor of a six-storied building on Road-8 of Naboday Housing in Adabar.

The kid was missing for two days. Two street children first saw the body, stuffed in a sack on the road. Hearing their screaming, locals rushed to the spot to find the freezing cold body.

Hapless Samiul was strangled to death and then put inside the refrigerator of his own house, said the police and morgue sources.

In preliminary interrogation, Samiul’s mother, Humayra confessed having an extramarital relationship with Arif, who she alleged masterminded the killing, said the Officer in Charge of Adabar police station.

Samiul’s knowing about their relationship and getting in the way of their plan to elope might have cost him his life, added the police officer.

As I was very anxious about the kid, I was going through every news media. Yesterday (25th June, 2010), I found a news report on a local privately-owned TV, where they had shown the brutal images of Samiul with the detailed story. I don’t have the video for sharing. Even if I had, I wouldn’t have done that. 

The three-second image of the dead body was pathetic that I took my eyes off the screen. I was thinking Bangladeshi media is becoming so fanatic about getting popular, catching more eyes. Showing that image would give them a chance to move one step forward- perhaps that was their misconception.

Later, I shared my status on Facebook

A five-year old boy was missing for couple of days in Dhaka, which made news headlines. Yesterday his dead body was found on a street inside a sack. A television station in Dhaka showed the poor kid’s body on their screen. Does this fall under any journalistic ethics- showing such brutal images? Or, is this the way to catch audience i.e. gain popularity?

In reply to my status, my good-old friend and my online journalism trainer, Thorsten Karg (Project Manager, DW-Akademie) replied to let the people of the world show how we should deal these kinds of stories. Our journalists should have had this very primary basics of journalistic ethics. But, I found it missing.

It’s sensationalism. Shouldn’t be shown. There’s no need for the public to see the dead body – it’s enough to run the story without showing that picture, which might be traumatising for some viewers. Also shouldn’t be shown out of respect for the boy and his family.

That’s how Thorsten replied and right it was. Nonetheless, we’ve already lost the kid and we mourn for the innocent. And, I really hope that in future our media stations will learn something about the implementation of journalism in the country. Meanwhile, police arrested Humayra and are in search of Arif. And, I strongly appeal for the right judgment. Rest in peace, Samiul. 


News visual of a dead body shocks me as a journalist

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