Debate about releasing photo of deceased

There has been much debate in newsrooms in London about whether outlets should have used the photograph of the man whose body was found in the Thames last week.

London police were trying to identify the man as they investigated his death.

At CTV, the photo was used, but once the man was identified, it was taken down from our website.

AM 980 also had the photo on their website.

I believe the Free Press chose not to run it.

Turning to the public for help, is something the police do on a daily basis.  In this case, it helped.

But others argue the man lost some dignity with the published photo.

I tend to agree with the police on this one. Time was of the essence. If there was foul play, police needed to get on top of it, and fast.

Do you agree with media using a photo of someone who is deceased?

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6 thoughts on “Debate about releasing photo of deceased

  1. Not clear who feels that the main issue with an unknown body police are seeking to identify, is a matter of his
    ‘Dignity’, whatever that means. Being an unclaimed body on a slab at the morgue isn’t exactly a celebrity sendoff .
    I assume the photo was only the face of the corpse, with some attempt to be respectful in the presentation.
    The comunity’s first responsibility is to find out who he was, who his next-of-kin are that they can be notified and claim the body. This means a media appeal for information.Staff have to use their own judgement as to how they can assist in this public service.
    In print it is likely to bring LtE, emails and tweets of ‘Outrage’ and not be worth it. Think of the Children!
    On TV it is displayed and taken down. No doubt the relatives are grateful for your employer’s co-operation in the search.
    If it is a crime situation, in-life photos would be used, the police ones now just a tool that has served its purpose
    Victorians were big on formal photos of the dead, particularly young children.
    Now to see how the local paper handled it..

  2. A Letter in the Free Press speaks to this point and quotes one of its columnists – “Gillespie writes:
    “Was it necessary? Or was it a callous example of the sort of insensitivity we commonly show individuals living
    on the margins of our society?”
    labelling the personWhat’s interesting is this journalist’s, despite having no apparent special knowledge of the
    case, as insignificant, a loser.
    Equating a police department’s responsibility to identify a dead body with no identification with the columnist’s perception of “callous example of the sort of insensitivity we commonly show individuals living on the margins of our society?” says more about the writer’s biases than the reactions of rest of the community.

  3. So if one comes this city job hunting, and falls, jumps, is pushed, or dropped into the river dead,
    the only newspaper in town will attack the deceased person’s character.
    Maybe the family – a brother and their mother are mentioned – will take issue legally with the newspaper’s
    irresponsible remarks.
    “We” did not assume anything – it was a newspaper columnist pushing the boundaries of opinionating.
    We don’t Charter-protect the Rights of the Press to publish wild guesses…Did not find out if the issue of
    burial according his faith came up – some religions have strong beliefs about timing.
    Sad for that American family without this from a strange Canadian city,

  4. This is newspaper reporting of the even – far too much opinion, and naive ones at that.
    “It took four days to notify next of kin .. man from Windsor, had turned up dead last week
    in the Thames River in London…
    In a world where people leave footprints everywhere — from the ID we pack, to our profile on the Internet
    and images of us captured on surveillance video… the idea that someone could die in a major city, without
    leaving a trace, stands out.”
    A stranger with no identification has no ‘footprint’ electronically, until he has a name, and that’s if he
    has done something to make it accessible. His wallet may have been stolen or floated off. No reason why
    he would be on London surveillance devices and even this does not necessarily identify a person.
    The traces of this gentleman are in Windsor, and in his family.
    I could have my heart attack a couple of blocks from my home when out for a casual walk and be unknown to
    passersby or the police. How many of us can even identify all the people who live on our same block?

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