Editors condemn suicide photo post

07 November 2018 | Local News

The Editors' Forum of Namibia (EFN) has condemned the social media posting of Ivan Pitt's suicide photograph.

Pitt was wanted for questioning in connection with the gruesome murder of his girlfriend Lindie Prinsloo.

His body was discovered on Monday, hanging from a rope inside the garage of the same Swakopmund house in which Prinsloo was murdered last Friday.

Shortly afterwards, Informanté published a photo on its Facebook page. The EFN said in statement yesterday it learnt with dismay about the posting of the photograph.

“Although Informanté is not a signed up member of the EFN, this graphic content constitutes unethical and insensitive journalism, which brings the Namibian media in general into disrepute with its readers and online audiences.”

The EFN said it cannot be argued the photo was posted in the public interest or to raise awareness.

“It seems the only aim was to sensationalise this breaking news post and use the graphic content to gain more clicks.”

The EFN said irrespective of what the deceased allegedly did, he was still a father, son and family member, loved by those close to him.

According to code of ethics and conduct for print, broadcast and online media, the media must exercise care and consideration in matters involving the private lives and concerns of individuals. However, the right to privacy may be overridden by public interest.

It says in the protection of privacy, dignity and reputation, special weight must be afforded to cultural customs concerning the privacy and dignity of people who are bereaved, and that respect must be shown for those who have passed away, as well as children, the elderly and the physically and mentally challenged.

According to the code, due care and responsibility must be exercised by the media with regard to the presentation of brutality, gratuitous violence and suffering.

“Material judged within this context should not sanction, promote or glamorise violence or unlawful conduct or discrimination based on sex, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, creed or social or economic status.”

The code also states that content depicting violent crime, violence or explicit sexual conduct should be avoided, unless public interest dictates otherwise; in which case there should be a prominent indication and warning displayed, saying such content is graphic and inappropriate for certain audiences, such as children.

The EFN said the Informanté post did not show the necessary care and consideration for the feelings and dignity of the bereaved family.

“Neither was a prominent warning given that the content is graphic and inappropriate for certain ages.”

The EFN emphasised the importance of reasonable journalism, in which journalists maintain the highest standards of credibility and keep the trust of the public, as spelt out in the code.

ELLANIE SMIT

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