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Saddam's execution

Kevin Bakhurst Kevin Bakhurst | 14:53 UK time, Saturday, 30 December 2006

The execution of Saddam Hussein was always going to pose us some dilemmas.

BBC News has kept a constant presence in Iraq this year, despite the safety issues and the cost of doing it, because we judge events there to be such a big and important story. A few days ago, when it seemed that the execution was imminent, world affairs editor John Simpson and Clive Myrie went into Iraq to reinforce the bureau - without knowing exactly how long they would have to stay there.

As it turned out, the execution came rather quicker than many expected. Many of our competitors don't have any permanent presence there and took the decision not to send in anyone to cover this story.

As it became clear that Saddam would probably be killed last night or today, there were several conversations between the senior figures in BBC News about what we would probably show if the execution was televised - which seemed likely. One decision was that we wouldn't show the moment of execution itself - even if it were made available (which it wasn't).

This morning I was in the building as the pictures actually came in from Iraqi television. We showed them on a time delay first on Breakfast to give us the option of cutting out - which we did on first showing.

We quickly reached the decision on Breakfast (and for the early part of the day and evening on BBC One) not to show the noose being put around Saddam's neck as there could be many children on school holiday watching - possibly passively. Even then, we gave a warning ahead of John Simpson's report.

For News 24 and for the late evening bulletin tonight on BBC One, we decided to show all the pictures of the execution as people are choosing actively to watch a news channel - and the late bulletin is on after the watershed.

We have also tried to reflect all the voices and views: Shia and Sunni, Arab world, European and American - although no British government minister wants to comment on camera today, nor does President Bush.

I hope the decisions we have made have allowed us to tell the story properly and well across all the channels whilst respecting the audiences they all have, at this time of year in particular.

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 04:46 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • lester wrote:

The execution of saddam will make the middle east a no go area for christians and other non muslims.The destabilisation is now complete.

  • 2.
  • At 04:47 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Frank wrote:

I think it's interesting that you've focused on the decency angle. When in reality, you've ignored the fact that this is nothing but US propaganda. Seeing the pictures of the execution aids no-one's understanding, so what's the point of showing them at all?

  • 3.
  • At 05:25 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Robert wrote:

I see that it is still deemed to be breaking news on news24 14 hours after the event. Surely after this length of time it is just news.
The pictures that are shown of the execution group look like a bunch of terrorists with their balaclava and black jackets. What were you trying to show by broadcasting these pictures, that you have access to the footage?

  • 4.
  • At 05:34 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Anthony S. wrote:

Anyone who wanted to see these images could easily access them through video sharing websites or middle east news outlets.

But for broadcasters in a civilised Western country to show an execution - and I'm not interested in your pious 'we would have stopped short of showing the actual drop' qualification - is an absolute disgrace.

This sets a really poor precedent, notwithstanding the fact that all of your advertising-driven competitors where showing it.

Now that you have done this - what won't you show?

I look forward to seeing the next militant beheading in full (right up to the point when the knife touches the neck - we want to keep our moral compass don't we?)

  • 5.
  • At 05:51 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Dave Donald wrote:

I don't understand. You said that you decided "not to show the noose being put around Saddam's neck as there could be many children on school holiday watching". I've been watching News 24 all afternoon and they have continually been showing the noose being put around his neck. Not to mention the footage of him lying dead. The image of the noose around his neck is also on the front page of the BBC News website. Which version of BBC News are you actually controlling?

I think it is appalling that the BBC would put an image of a man with a noose around his neck as the headlining image of the website, no matter who he is. I agree with Anthony S - claiming that it is OK because he isn't actually dead yet simply isn't acceptable.

Still, now he is dead we can all go home, right?

  • 7.
  • At 06:10 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • AndyB wrote:

I am pleased the BBC have made the decision to broadcast all available footage of the moments before Saddam's execution. This story is of great public interest, and I see no reason not to provide viewers the opportunity to watch such an important event if they choose to do so.

This decision is unlikely to set a precedent as I can think of few figures whose execution would generate a comparable level of interest. If the material is being shown by other news organisations -- and bearing in mind that even the full film stops short of the actual execution -- then the BBC are doing no harm by broadcasting what has been made available to them.

Daytime television, especially at the weekend and during school holidays, is not the time to be showing graphic material, and I was pleased that the video shown on Breakfast this morning was faded at an appropriate moment. However, adults should be given the option of viewing all available footage -- with suitable warnings beforehand -- and the BBC is right to allow them this choice after the watershed this evening.

  • 8.
  • At 06:32 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Andrew Robb wrote:

I was truly shocked that you decided to show "graphic images" of Saddam's execution on the 6.00pm news tonight. We really did not need to see all the immediately preceding and succeeding paraphanalia of the judicial killing even though you announced beforehand that the moment of execution itself would not be shown. Showing the graphic images of the deliberate slaughter of one human being by others is unforgivable on terrestrial national television at a time of day (and especially on a Saturday) when children and others of an impressionable age are watching alone. As older viewers can readily envisage what takes place at an execution, it really did not need your report to include these images. The editors who decided to screen these pictures did so simply because they had them and this was sufficient justification. It was a serious error of judgement on the part of those who decide these matters which jeapordises the BBC's reputation for accurate reporting responsibly broadcast.

Regards

Andrew Robb

  • 9.
  • At 06:39 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • James wrote:

I think the correct decision was made, it is a current news story which is in public interest.

The footage doesn't actually contain the hanging of Saddam just the moments leading to the event.

Of course you will always get viewers causing a stir by not wanting the footage to be shown however the majority would support the decision.

  • 10.
  • At 06:45 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • MIchael Wonham wrote:

I detested Saddam as much as the next guy, but I think the BBC and UK government have have placed themselves in an insidious position with his execution. For the UK government to even consider remaining quiet on his execution, given their support for Pinochet, and their refusal to extradite people to places with the death penalty just demonstrates the political nature of this punishment. for the BBC to show this footage seems to me to be pure jingoism -'yes we got him!', on a par with many of Bush's ill-considered comments on his capture.

Sorry Auntie - this time you done wrong.

  • 11.
  • At 06:46 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Richard Wells wrote:

I can understand the issue of children seeing horrific events and of course a very strong warning should be given.

That said the execution should have been shown in full as should the severed limbs and so on of solidiers and civilians, shot, burned and bombed in conflicts everywhere.

Only when people realise, by visual impact, the true horror of capital punishment and the truth behind statistics and the news reports will they say "Enough! No more war, no more sales of armaments."

After all, those who edit and then censor our news presumably don't 'crack up' so why should the rest of us?

  • 12.
  • At 06:46 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Charles wrote:

I agree with Robert's comment (3) about Saddam's executioners looking just like terrorists. The footage looked like masked thugs executing another thug. Surely clinincal white clothing and surgical masks would have been a better choice for disposal of such a pathogen.

It would be tempting to sympathize with the devil himself under such circumstances; but should we give in to sympathy in Saddam's case? It strikes me that he was very lucky to be afforded the dignity of that execution method.

If the punishment had truly fitted the crimes, he'd have been castrated by Kurdish widdows and flushed down an enlarged toilet by some righteously angry Marsh Arabs.

Murdering dictators need to be actively discouraged. Bad Mad Mugabe will be next, I hope.

  • 13.
  • At 06:48 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Ian Lowe wrote:

People in the UK should watch his death, safe in the knowledge that we did this.

He is dead because of us - whether that's morally a good or bad thing, Hussein is dead because Tony Blair lied to drag the UK into this ill conceived, poorly planned and poorly executed war.

It's a little late to be coming over all squeamish about it now.

  • 14.
  • At 06:48 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • anna gabell wrote:

I counted three times,Saddam Hussein
being referred to as a "pariah" on your news.I believe his death was un
necessary,truimphalism and politically
motivated.It was also wrong and shameful that he was disposed of just prior to a muslim festival.It says it all for me that no member of our government or Bush would/could not comment.I believe the Iraqui government is a puppet of the american
and english troops and that the whole
war was wrong and politically ,financially and morally wrong.There were no WMDs,just two fanatics making war with no long term
thought-a lot of people suffered for their callousness and greed for glory-aif Saddam deserved punishment,then he
should have been imprisoned for life.
I am appalled that his execution is to be televised after all,but not
surprised,in this age of schadenfreude.

  • 15.
  • At 06:49 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Simon wrote:

Thankfully I have recently got rid of my television and therefore did not have to suffer pictures leading up to an execution. This is an absolutely barbaric act in my opinion and one which is no longer practiced in a civilised country and I can see no reason whatsoever for showing any images of it. Can't it just be reported without the addition of video? Exactly what purpose does it serve?

Just to answer Dave Donald: I think the blog says that we decided not to show it until after the watershed on BBC1 bulletins. We are showing it on News 24 as people actively have to choose to watch the news channel rather than find the news coming on after the Weakest Link on BBC1. I took the decision today on both - in consultation with my boss.

And Robert's right - we've taken off the Breaking News strap!

  • 17.
  • At 07:03 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • marie wrote:

For years we have been viewing pictures of the children of Africa with the noose of hunger around thier necks. Was that entertainment. Was it news. Are we outraged.

What are people {critics of the BBC reporting} pretending to care about?

Their sensitivities have been outraged for today. Thats all.

marie

  • 18.
  • At 07:04 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Ashley T wrote:

I was surprised to see the noose going over Hussein's head, but for one moment only. This was News 24.

No one was ever going to show his death afterall and there is certainly no moral highground. There is blood and death and far worse on TV before the watershed.

Hussein's life has largely been played out to the world - this was his choice - he relished self publication and now it is just that his final day be shown to the world.

The editorial decision was correct, I am sure.

  • 19.
  • At 07:39 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • David Andrew wrote:

I have to agree with David Donald - i was pleased that BBC News this morning on BBC1 showed preparation before the execution only. This was apparently (as said by the newsreader) a decision made by the BBC at the time to limit what would be shown.

By 11am this previous decision had been wiped out and i watched with some suprise Saddam as was led to the gallows, noose sitting there, but not on him. This was BBC1 not News24.

I was really disappointed and a little shocked to see the change of mind by the Beeb - i'm not a squeamish person at all, but this was in seriously bad taste. I didn't need to see that much to believe it had happened.

  • 20.
  • At 07:49 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Andrew Mayo wrote:

This was not your footage,was it?. It was provided to you, and in choosing to show what is in effect US propaganda courtesy of its puppet "government" in Iraq, I think you made a very serious error of judgement. This is so, not because of questions of taste and decency, but because it was made clear by the US very early on that this footage was taken (and then made widely available) 'to prove to the Arab world that Saddam had really been executed' and it was additionally made clear that the footage was expected 'to quell Arab conspiracy theories'.

I expect the BBC to show better judgement than to act as a propaganda outlet for a country whose latest aggression via proxy in Somalia threatens to repeat the disaster of Iraq within the Horn of Africa. Please start acting maturely and dispassionately, or you'll simply become the Voice of America (Airstrip One Division!).

  • 21.
  • At 07:50 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Joey wrote:

Won't someone please think of the children??!!??

With all the pain and sorrow in the world, it is a silly thing to try to shield children from the realities of death and government.

If we are too ashamed of what is being done that we don't want our children to know about it, perhaps we shouldn't be doing it at all.

  • 22.
  • At 07:53 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Rupert wrote:

"We are showing it on News 24 as people actively have to choose to watch the news channel" You're kidding, right?
Do you ever leave your office? News 24 is playing to passive viewers in far more places than BBC1 - in all my local banks, doctor's surgery, dentist - and many more, where kids are waiting, bored, staring at the telly screen. And most are silent, with no words to explain the context of potentially disturbing images to confused kids. You seriously need to reconsider the policy informoing your "active/passive" viewing decisions. If you genuinely care about these things more than scoops and viewing figures.

  • 23.
  • At 07:54 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • mike wrote:

The death of a person is not something to be taken lightly, I do not think the killing of Saddam will solve the problem in Iraq. On the the other hand bringing the person to justice for his crimes is something that every civilised country should uphold. I do believe there is a right for this to be shown on TV and it is an individuals right whether he or she wishes to view it. The BBC are not participating in the act just reporting it has happened and trying to do this accurately without offending the public.
To be honest I would have preferred if Saddam had been sentenced to hard labour and felt a little punishment, he has now been set up to be a martyr which cannot be good.

  • 24.
  • At 08:06 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • anna gabell wrote:


Thanks for publishing my points of view.We all know that the so called "War" was an excuse for oil-not to mention the Israilies-and for the pecuniary advantege of the U.S.of A? Mr Bush (alias The Shrub in my mind-AND Mr.Blair (alias:Theres a good dog!)would,in my opinion,learn a lot if the former spent a month on Death Row in Florida and the latter tried to survive as as an immigrant.Saddam was a pussycat in comparison - this does not mean that i have no feelings for british and american soldiers/people who gave their lives. Saddam was no saint,but he did not deserve the death sentence via a pretence of a fair trial!We should all be ashamed for allowing the war to happen - and for his death

  • 25.
  • At 08:07 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Tom Stephens wrote:

Oh come on auntie! You lead us on and then refuse to show us the best bits. What an old spoilsport you are; not to mention total hypocrite. Why didn't you show us any images at all of all those unarmed men, women and children who died when our lying PM bombed Baghdad? You never know, it might have stopped him from lying in the future; but, of course, that we'll never know.

  • 26.
  • At 08:10 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • anna gabell wrote:


=Is there no real forgiveness in this world?I object-and I am pleased that Amnesty did the same-we are ruled by hypocrites!

  • 27.
  • At 08:32 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Dele wrote:

i appreciate that making a decision to show the execution of saddam must be very difficult for the bbc.your account suggests that it was an exclussive you felt you had to air having invested so much by way of your reporters! i however disagree that the bbc has to show the whole process(no thanks for sparing us his dying throes as you did not have the footage either). the babarity of public execution- as this is what it was- demeans us as civilised people.the sanctity of life is not only applicable to western peoples but to an arab dictator as well. it would have been adequate to show his corpse in the shroud for those who needed convincing that the tyrant was indeed dead. i was struck by the man's dignity in the face of certain death which was in marked contrast to his executioners who hid behind balaclavers. iraqis and the fundamentalist right in america may want to see this form of macabre justice but i doubt if the average rational british licence fee payer does.

  • 28.
  • At 08:39 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • James Hubbard wrote:

Kevin, Your talk about the watershed is just plain wrong - who are you trying to fool? And you should be fired for this. I was watching BBC television with my young children present earlier this evening and saw footage of the Saddam on the gallows, with the noose plainly visible. This was the most disgusting act of editorial bravado I have ever seen on television. You should be ashamed of yourself for the effect this will have on hundreds of thousands of kids who saw this on BBC TV news.

  • 29.
  • At 08:44 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Alan Rees wrote:

I and my children do watch the news, whether its on SKY or BBC. I now believe that we should have the choice over whether to pay these so called reporters of the BBC. They have become the "Sun" of the television. Its quite simple, I have brought my children up to believe that we are a civilised society. We should now be given the choice to pay for a TV licence or not. As of today I am cancelling my direct debit. I prefer to be taken to court over the disgust I feel for the people working for the BBC rather than ignore the damage they have done in the past 24 hours to the decency and democracy we live in.

  • 30.
  • At 08:45 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Alun wrote:

As this (almost) shows the reality of a lynching I though it was right to show it. Hopefully more people will be revolted at the idea of "judicial" killings.

It was also justified in view of the leading role of the UK in bringing about the present day conditions in Iraq.


  • 31.
  • At 08:50 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • isb61 wrote:

I do not uphold that capital punishment is decent or civilised, I understand that the executioners would need to keep their identity hidden against future reprisal but the whole episode is reminiscent of the murders by the 'insurgents' of western hostages all Sadam needed was the orange overalls. I do not believe it necessary to do anymore than report the execution, are we going back to the days of Tyburn?

  • 32.
  • At 08:55 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Erika wrote:

I believe that in showing this footage the BBC, amongst others, has made a dreadful error of judgment. The custom of standing round to gawp at the condemned man mounting the gallows was one that, mercifully, ceased centuries ago.
Finding that this is now an experience to be shared with millions around the world does not ameliorate its shocking effect.
The footage may be suitable for those in Iraq with a genuine need to see justice meted out, but it has no place amongst wider society, other than to encourage those with a misplaced and prurient interest.
I'm sickened, quite honestly.

  • 33.
  • At 09:01 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Mary wrote:

Jacob (6), you are absolutely right and I am glad that the picture on the BBC News frontpage has been changed now.

news.bbc.co.uk is a "permitted" site (ie it can be accessed without an admin password) on the home computers of several parents I know, as well as in schools and libraries. Sometimes it's even set as the homepage. An image that disturbing is inappropriate.

That said, any takers on how many papers on displays in the shops tomorrow will have that image full-size on their frontpage?

  • 34.
  • At 09:06 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Alison Stokoe Scotland wrote:

I am absolutely horrified by the truth that the BBC televised the execution/death of a human-being, even if that human-being committed unspeakable acts, because we would want to witness it. What kind of people have we become that we would want to witness the spectical of a man minutes from his death and then lying in his shroud? It serves no purpose but to humiliate and degrade us, not the man going to his death.

I watched those images today which I found sickening and now I am left feeling the guilt and the shame of doing so.

  • 35.
  • At 09:15 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Richard Smith wrote:

I had an interesting conversation with my 11 year old this morning who watched the story on the news and he thought it was cool that a "nasty man" had been killed, and with a pang I explained to him that the death of another was never right and it was far better to deal with the problem before it became a problem. I am not convinced it was right to hang Saddam, however I am pleased that one more tyrant has been removed from Planet. However this is not without some concern for the rest of us left to move forward. My thoughts are with Saddams Family who obviously feel the same as the rest of us would.

  • 36.
  • At 09:30 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • John Moffat wrote:

The last public hanging on the island of Great Britian was carried out in May 1868. I assume the Capital Punishment Act (amendment 1868) did not include outlawing the public broadcasting of executions? Perhaps the BBC et al. are breaking the law?

  • 37.
  • At 09:31 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Sara wrote:

I just wanted to add this quote. It is quote worthy... "All of our notions of modernity and progress and all our advances in technological expertise have not brought an end to war. Our declaring the notion of sin to be obsolete has not diminished human suffering. And the easy answers: blaming technology,or, for that matter, the world's religions, have not solved the problem. the problem, C.S. Lewis insists, is us." -K. Norris

When it comes down to it, Saddam , though, unrepentant, was still a life. No need to exploit his death. He was not the only one guilty.

  • 38.
  • At 09:39 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • AdamF wrote:

It's news. Whatever your political, religious or other views, the BBC should broadcast it. I pay enough for my TV license without the BBC deciding to edit out bits of it. BBC News is about all I watch from the BBC these days, so make it worth watching.

It is hard to believe we have banned fox hunting and yet show a hanging on our screens. Personally, I would be much more at ease watching a fox die at the teeth of dogs than a man die at the hands of judicial killers. In fact, I choose to watch neither.
While on the subject: What irony that Sadam is "dropped" on the same day Scarlet is "elevated". Thank god for Graham Dyson to keep "honour" in perspective around such an unedifying see-saw.

  • 40.
  • At 10:30 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Viveca Dutt wrote:

I totally agree with all the comments that it was disgraceful and unneccesary to show the video footage of this execution. The argument that it is OK after the watershed and on active news station is totally irrelevant. Either it is acceptable to show the last moments of a man's life or is it not. And I see no news value or public interest in this - it is a descent to tabloid senstationalism.
I have made an official complaint about this - perhaps others who feel strongly could consider doing this as well. It might make the BBC think seriously about their news values.

  • 41.
  • At 11:28 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • John Burke wrote:

Whatever the wrongdoing of the man, I find the images I have seen on BBC news television today of the moments before his being put to death quite appalling. Is it right for a national news television service to show to the general viewing public what is little short of a pornographic "snuff" movie? Public viewings of executions were rightly discontinued in this country in the mid 19th century after coming to be regarded as uncivilised. Has the BBC abandoned this principle?


J Burke

  • 42.
  • At 11:29 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Mark Winspear wrote:

We as a nation, and as citizens of the EU, are officially against the barbarism of the death penalty wherever it is used. As a Christian, I fully support this position.
It therefore seems wrong to me for our natioanl broadcaster to glorify the act in any way by showing unnecessary pictures. Report the news, fine, but that's all that's needed.
Doubtless Saddam was a criminal, due appropriate punishment. Killing another human, by anyone, is wrong. Two wrongs do NOT make a right.
I have no sympathy for Saddam Hussein, however, the news that he had been executed, heard on BBC radio, saddened me. As I feared saturation coverage on BBC TV and other channels, I have left the set turned OFF all day.

  • 43.
  • At 11:30 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Ann wrote:

I cannot see any justification for showing the scenes leading to to-day's execution. We live in a country which is opposed to the death penalty and so no members of the public should have such images brought into their living rooms. We can all imagine the processes leading up to an execution without seeing them. To stop short of the final act of killing seems incidental.

To Kevin: I will remember the execution of Saddam Hussein on the 29th of December 2006@10:30PM with this.

I woke up with a terrible headache and took anti headache medication [secondary to a motor vehicle accident]. I went to the BBC News Website, and it said "Hussein to be executed within two minutes".

I told my Mother In Law [She aand I were the only ones in the house awake] about the two minutes and she said: "Telemundo 51 [A US Latin Station] announced that Hussein was executed". Then the BBC said "Breaking News: Hussein Executed".

I Attempted to see the execution which was necessary. I had to go to AzTV [Azerbaijian TV] and IRIB TV [Iran] to watch the whole thing. I was aware that it was graphic but it was necessary to see this as it is part of our history.

Afterwards, Telemundo 51 announced that two minutes after Hussein's Execution, Bush and his wife had to leave their Crawford Texas Home because of a Tornado [which destroyed the home].

http://alvarezgalloso.blogster.com/hussein_executed.html
This was from my blog in response to Hussein's Execution.

http://alvarezgalloso.blogster.com/miami_fl_husseins_impending.html
This was another blog of Miami Florida during the afternnon that lead to Hussein's Execution. Unfortunately in the comment section, some people from the Republican and Democratic Party were trying to sabotage my article.

I hope it was not too long, I just wanted to share with my BBC Family my memory of what happened. Happy New Year. Roberto

  • 45.
  • At 11:50 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • David wrote:

Personally I'm amazed at the opposition in some of the above comments. Hussein's execution is a hugely significant news story and the video footage is symbolic in what it shows. It is much less violent or graphic than a considerable number of scenes in other television programmes, adverts or movies - including those pre-watershed. Granted these mediums have an "it's just actors" edge, but why should BBC News be criticised for delivering important content that is highly pertinent to the current situation in Iraq?

The BBC continues to beat all the other news agencies in getting the balance right, and report on a credibly consistent basis without prejudice. That John Simpson was one of few on-site reporters is a situation to be thankful for.

And I'm fed up listening to folk complain that they are forced to watch the footage. If you can't take the reality, switch the channel. It's done with one button press and is surprisingly easy.

  • 46.
  • At 11:51 PM on 30 Dec 2006,
  • Robert Fripp wrote:

Just reading through these comments you can see how divisive an issue this is. It would be interesting to see the respective oinions of the don't-shows to do-shows over the morality of the execution in itself.

For the record...I wouldn't have liked to make the decision to show or not so all respect to you guys at the beeb!

  • 47.
  • At 12:03 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Mark Riley wrote:

"Saddam would probably be killed"

Interesting choice of word.
Not 'executed' or 'hung' ...

As for the footage I think that it should have been shown. Why not bring that brutality of the moment into our rooms - after all we are politically involved in that country and have been since we supplied Saddam with his military needs.

This stuff matters. We should see it.

  • 48.
  • At 12:16 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Andrew Hirst wrote:

It's interesting reading the most popular "have your say" comments that many readers think that both Bush and Blair should be tried for their role in a war of aggression against Iraq which constituted a Crime against Peace as defined by the Nuremberg Charter and the Nuremberg Judgment.

Neeldess to say none of the mainstream media will touch this subject with any seriousness and even if in some bizarre fantasy land they were tried and sentenced to death, I wonder if the likes of the BBC would show them being led up to the gallows to be hung like Saddam has been?

It's a laughable thought really, especially given that none of the media have even bothered to raised the question of Blair or Bush resigning over the death and destruction they have brought on the Iraqi people.


  • 49.
  • At 12:26 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • I.H.Wilkinson wrote:

Dear Sir

Congratulations on lowering the standards of the BBC to the lowest unspeakable levels I could imagine.

I am ashamed that as a country we have finally “given in”.

For some time I have seen the BBC spending public subscription pushing the boundaries of public decency - but this really is the pits.

I hope you are all very proud – you should all be ashamed of yourselves.

I hope the Director General of the BBC seems fit to consider his position over this and takes with him those responsible for editorial issues.

Yes I know all the arguments about what everyone else is showing – BUT YOU WERE NOT MAN ENOUGH TO REFUSE THE TEMTATION OF SHOWING FLY ON THE WALL VIEWING.

I feel you would have earned worldwide respect be reporting this issue in a professional manner and not becoming part of the pond life journalists we see from around the world.

We have an elected government – can we not trust them to inform us of such sensitive issues?

Yours in disbelief

I H Wilkinson
Lancashire

  • 50.
  • At 12:36 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Mike of Sheffield wrote:

I suppose I should be surprised that posters can't separate their opinions on the war and on showing proof of Hussain's hanging. But sadly I'm not.
For Iraqui's the issue was to dispel rumour that 'he wasn't really dead'; for the West it was to show what was happening in an important news item.
As an adult I am able to choose what to see; who gave the likes of Anthony S, Jacob, Michael W, etc the right to choose for me?
I am opposed to capital punishment; but try as I might I cannot find a valid alternative to Hussain's execution. However this is an entirely different issue. I'd have expected the BBC to make the same decision if S. Africa had decided to execute Nelson Mandela after his trial all those years ago.

  • 51.
  • At 12:39 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Liam Coughlan wrote:

A wise and sensible approach by the BBC. Any decision not to show the footage would have sent viewers to one of the many rival networks that did show it. In this information age there is no shortage of internet outlets for the worst of Iraqi violence, including the barbaric beheadings that have occured there. It is good to see that some consideration was given to the issue of what to show during the earlier hours. Some broadcasters, such as the US Fox Network not only showed the Saddam footage, but the newsreaders and commentators were gleeful in their joy, which was disgusting, unbalanced and biased. Good on the BBC.

  • 52.
  • At 12:44 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Sophia wrote:

I believe the BBC made the right decision on this - after all, people only learn when faced with the consequences of their actions, and seeing the dead corpse of Saddam Hussein, I hoped, shocked people as to the full extent of what is going on in Iraq (and around the world) due to British and American intervention.

That the execution had to happen now when Saddam still had criminal charges against him smacks of American intervention (after all, the massacre of Dujail that he was sentenced on happened WHILE he was supported by the US).

As to any charges of slipping morality or whatever, it takes but a simple search to find some TRULY horrific things - innocent civilians torched alive, with their charred bodies hanging upside-down in the street. That is something I'd question. Saddam Hussein - dead - wrapped in a white shroud I would not. And I've been watching BBC news since I was 11 years old. It doesn't shock me now and it wouldn't have shocked me then.

  • 53.
  • At 12:45 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Terri Robson wrote:

I personnally would not watch a hanging by a verdict from a Kangaroo Court,nor do I recognize the verdict from a British/American puppet Government,I do understand the need for some peoples to know he is truly dead.I do not fault the BBC for doing their job and reporting on this which I feel is the most important event of 2006.

  • 54.
  • At 01:02 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Aaron McKenna wrote:

When people were hung in the UK there was a way of reporting and showing the hanging. Why not simply go by those guidelines? Apart from the fact that it looked like he was being executed by gangsters the principal is the same.

Take off the kid gloves - whether you agree or disagree with capital punishment, shying away from showing a hanging merely mystifies it; which is not a wonderful thing, since mysterious things tend to draw a larger audience. Also, there are pictures being broadcast and shown of Saddam when he's dead. What's the difference between showing him dead and him being executed?

saddam was a dictator who ordered the killing of his enemies... that is barbaric.

the united states and england are engaged in a war in iraq. it is a war based on lies and propaganda. barbaric.

in a war, human beings kill other human beings... barbaric.

the iraqis are now engaged upon killing eachother. barbaric

killing is barbaric

hanging is killing is barbaric.

showing pictures of a hanging as a "news item" in order to gain viewership is equally as barbaric.

  • 56.
  • At 01:28 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Carl wrote:

Would people expect you to show footage that every other media outlet in the world was showing?

Of course they would.

The question as to how much you would show is obviously a difficult one but its not a story you can avoid.

Having seen much of the coverage from the BBC, Sky, Fox, CNN & Al Jazeera today I have to commend the broadcasters as a whole for the measured approach they have taken on this difficult subject.

My only concern is that the commentators I have seen all seem to have taken the view that capital punnishment is wrong. There seemed to be little commentary from those who disagree (and i suspect this is a fairly large proportion of the public).

Perhaps thats something that can be considered in editorial meetings in coming days.

  • 57.
  • At 01:46 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • James wrote:

I agree with the comment posted by Frank. Especially if we harken back to the pictures of Saddams dead sons plastered all over the tabloids. It is not however the job of the BBC to censor us from the very real results of our, as a nation, having supported and prosecuted this war. The BBC should be showing us in detail the cost of that decision. The cost to Saddam, the Iraqi people and the British service men, women and families! Then maybe we will be better placed to decide wether to support any other future invasions based on American foreign policy.

  • 58.
  • At 02:29 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Paul from Barking wrote:

Whilst I have no pity for Saddam, I truly fear we have done a terrible deed in allowing his to happen.

Killing this man lke this publicly but allowing him to show his defiance to the ned has allowed him to become a martyr in the eyes of some of his disciples.

More death and destruction to come?

We could and should have sent him to the Hague to be kept in a secure *Neutral* prison for the rest of his life after having tried hiim for each and every one of his war crimes.

The other people he murdered will now not get their chance of justice and I fear we have allowed Saddam to meet the Devil and wreek havoc on us from beyond the grave.

Bush, Blair and the other cronies really do have a lot to answer for - I just hope that when they're out of office and on a holiday - to say somewhere like China - that they aren't 'arrested' and tried as war criminals themselves - think about it: They went to war without a UN Mandate

  • 59.
  • At 02:34 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Rikki wrote:

Either way, the BBC can't win. One minute they're anti-American; the next, the voice of American propaganda. If the BBC *hadn't* shown the brief footage they did, the very people complaining about it would be up in arms that the BBC was whitewashing the event in some pro-Arab stand. You're all hypocrites.

TV news is there to show us the pictures of the news. If you don't want to see any of the often-disturbing pictures that go with our news, look away or listen to the radio. Ample warning was given and so the choice became yours to watch or not watch - and I say this as someone who didn't want to see it either.

The news these days is uncomfortable viewing. Sanitising it merely gives the population a distorted view of reality. Yes, these things really do go on in our world, and it's about time us in our cozy western houses realised it.

I don't envy the very difficult decisions the BBC has to make, such as this one, but I trust them to find the correct choice.

  • 60.
  • At 02:38 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Nicola Brown wrote:

Let me know when you have stopped showing it then I will switch on the TV again.

  • 61.
  • At 02:49 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Margaret Mills wrote:

Im sorry but how many people who have commented here sat and watched the terrible events of 9/11 on BBC when it happened? And I bet none of you complained and yet the biggest complaint it seems here is that you had to watch someone be killed. Actually you didn't have to watch Sadam be executed - you saw before and after basically. But surely if you watched the events of 9/11 you were watching hundreds of people being murdered and no-one complained about it. Only of course their deaths were worse as those people in the twin towers were innocent. Hussein was not. Think about it, how is watching his death any different from the others you have watched on the news? The only difference really is that at that moment the news is focusing on one man and not many like when you see footage of a bomb explode. And surely watching many people (usually innocent) die at once is worse than watching a dictator being hanged?

Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating that Sadam should have been executed, personally I don't think he should have been but that's my personal opinion, I just don't see why people are complaining about the footage being shown, when really, the news has shown much worse when you think about it.

And to the people who complained about their children seeing Sadam with a noose - I'm sure they've watched a lot worse on TV shows than that before.

  • 62.
  • At 04:12 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Keith Gardner wrote:

What are these people talking about?
We DIDN'T see the execution.
That is the whole point - we don't even know if he is dead.
A picture of a body afterwards means nothing - remember - he had 12 to 15 doubles while he was alive!

  • 63.
  • At 05:25 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Peter T wrote:

Well, it seems there are two prevailing points of view above: 1) It was a bad decision. It was shameful, distasteful and barbaric. It glorified capital punishment (and, some would add, was at least borderline propaganda). While it's rather quaint (and very BBC) that consideration was taken to show certain images on certain channels at certain times, this didn't go far enough and never could have. The actual decision taken with regard to 'active' news watching on News 24 was a nonsense (well spotted, Rupert, above at number 22). Moreover, stopping short of showing the actual moment of death doesn't get the BBC off the hook. The damage to our children will have been (and has been) done anyway.

2) Others have said it was a good call. This is news. Our government shares some responsibility for bringing this situation about where this man (even if he was a brutal tryant) is killed by the verdict of a questionable court, for not all of his crimes (or even arguably his most serious ones), at an inappropriate time (an important Muslim religious festival and while Iraq is still under occupation), by uncivilised means and effectively by a masked gang of cowards (or, at least, people dead set on revenge). This viewpoint is that, because it's a lynching, we should be shown it by the BBC and so be ashamed of ourselves. People might feel a twinge of sympathy for this evil man, then remember who he was, and be led to think about the moral position of our own society. There is also a recognised need to convince everyone (especially the conspiracy theorists) that Saddam is really dead. (And besides, Sky is showing it on Sky News... And those who don't like it can hit the 'off' button!!)

What do I think? Irrespective of the rights and wrongs of capital punishment and the execution/crime, whether the BBC should have shown it comes down to a question of whether showing the killing of a human being is more distasteful or educational. While I appreciate that it's a very tough call, and the inclination for journalists is always to report what they see, in a civilised society surely it is unnecessary and inappropriate to gawp at the taking of human life, or to encourage the gawping. The lesson need not be taught so graphically. If the decision was made for commercial reasons, that really is shameful. And the 'off' button argument is a joke at best; it completely misses the point. While I understand the decision, I would have hoped for better from the BBC. Sadly, as it happens, I'm not surprised at all.

  • 64.
  • At 05:54 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • PRO CHOICE wrote:

I say you have the right to show whatever you feel people want to know. Alot of the Shiites and Iraqis were still leary and didn;t believe the Deed was done and continued to fear he may come back to Power. I will only say to the posters above, If you will kindly read up on the millions of innocent people this tyrant and his army killed, you would realize he needed to be removed. Put yourselves in the same place as his victims and then comeback with your comment. Believe what you will .. However , Justice was done! Above all you have a choice to watch it or to turn it off. It's important you have a choice.

  • 65.
  • At 06:13 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Cameron Keogh wrote:

Many many people are disgusted at what was reported regarding the execution of Saddam Hussein. However, many more people should be even more outraged at what is NOT being reported on the BBC nearly everyday....and I am not only talking about Iraq.

  • 66.
  • At 07:36 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Brenny wrote:

I heard someone say on a news broadcast one time that we (the free world) are Politically Correcting ourselves to death and maybe we need to grow a spine and not care so much about it. The hanging should have been broadcasted and the viewer can make their own decision to view it or not.

  • 67.
  • At 08:08 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Wing-Yun Yu wrote:

I deplore the extensive execution footage - I didn't expect a respectable media organisation like the BBC would join the ranks of other tacky American-style television stations by showing such a brutal act so graphically. On BBC World, there was no warning whatsoever about the disturbing pictures. If I had children, I wouldn't want them to watch the execution nor the dead body, thank you very much. It was just like a medieval public execution aimed at drawing a curious crowd - how utterly uncivilised and tasteless. Now I see the BBC is just as bad as one of these many tacky "infotainment" channels around the world.

  • 68.
  • At 08:46 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Graham Basden wrote:

Two points. The more people who are shocked, horrified, disgusted etc etc etc by the execution, war, indiscriminate killing etc etc etc, televised or not, the better. There was a second camera in the chamber, an apparently unauthorised camera phone, which showed the whole thing.

The second point, made by Richard, that "After all, those who edit and then censor our news presumably don't 'crack up' so why should the rest of us?", WRONG! I spent 30 years in the TV industry as an operator, and my duties often required me to edit out footage deemed too graphic for news viewers. They were sometimes a lot worse than an execution. Not only couldn't I sleep sometimes for days, I ended up, at 50 years old, a psychiatric patient on a disability pension, never able to work again. I still get nightmares from some of the stuff I was "privileged" to see.

  • 69.
  • At 09:28 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • pumpkin wrote:

Can appreciate your dilemma, and think you probably got things about right.

However had not a precedent actually been set?

When the Ceaucescus were shot/killed/executed (Mark Riley take your pick) did you not then as in this case show the footage leading up to but not including the moment when the shots were fired?

And in that case was the obvious distress of Mrs Ceaucescu not more likely to prove difficult for many viewers to stomach?

Incidentally, did you have access to the entire execution, or only that section you actually showed? I ask since in view of the Iraqi government (?) claiming that Saddam was a "broken broken man" who was treated with respect and dignity right up until the end, reports today of footage circulating of him reacting with contempt to taunts from his executioners and witnesses are quite interesting.

Did the video released really stop short of the hanging itself purely out of decency?

  • 70.
  • At 10:47 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Maureen wrote:

I am appalled at the lack of sensitivity displayed by the BBC in broadcasting Saddam Hussein's final moments before his execution. I do not engage in this level of voyeurism and I was not given the choice of changing channels. For those people for whom pleasure or curiosity was their reason for watching such a tragedy, the option of accessing the footage on websites was always available to them.

The execution of another human being, whatever the crime, is not something that the BBC should be broadcasting as 'news'. Even Saddam should have been afforded some privacy as he faced his own death. I have no sympathy for Saddam Hussein but was distressed by the tragedy of his final moments. For those who want to promote Saddam as a martyr for a cause - you gave them everything they needed.

We are horrified at the broadcasting of executions in other legal and illegal contexts - stopping short of te 'drop' did not make the BBC better than other sadists!

  • 71.
  • At 11:04 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • David wrote:

I remember channels showing executions by the Nazi's/Taliban (one in football stadium if I remember) etc. and people seem to have little problem with that...we saw replays of planes hitting the twin towers, see infra-red images of smart bombs hitting their targets and even the body of Pope John Paul II...yet a noose going around someones neck causes all these outraged sensibilities???

I am against the death penalty however it was as newsworthy footage as anything from September 11th. It was broadcast with a 'health warning' if you watched it, it's because you wanted to...unless you happened to change channels at that exact moment however you could of still looked away!

As for children, parents should stop blaming everyone else and take control over what tv they watch/video games they play etc...

It's amazing how many parents I see buying 18+ video games for their kids and yet you know they'd be the first to be outraged over something like this!

  • 72.
  • At 11:32 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Bernard wrote:

I support the BBC's decision to show the judicial killing of the former head of state of Iraq. I remain dismayed that it was initial British military involvement that allowed what appeared to be a lynch mob of hooded terrorists to carry out this barbaric proceedure. Is this democracy? What further suffering will the Iraqi people have to enjure?. British poititians who supposidly oppose the death penalty, and who did nothing to prevent this execution, should hang their heads in shame!

  • 73.
  • At 11:53 AM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Nick Hogarth wrote:

I don't recall any criticism being referred to in the WWII news footage of Heinrich Himmler after he took cyanide, and I'm sure children were exposed to that at the time. I don't view seeing him about to be executed as any worse than many thousands of screen deaths that most children will have seen before. Rather this than allegations and paranoia about cover ups and state murder done in secret. The trial was publically held for a reason, so was the execution.

And it wasn't a war by Bush and Blair for oil, let's please put that one to bed, it would have been far cheaper to just buy the damn oil! The war hasn't been particularly well run, but to put Bush and Blair on the same level as Saddam is insane. If you blame every death in Iraq on B & B, rather than those who actually pulled the triggers and planted the bombs, you might as well blame Bush and Blair for every murder in their own countries as well!

Ultimate responsibility rests with the killers, no-one else, democracy means people have freedom to do what they want, and also the responsibility that goes with it. Do not absolve the militias of their responsibility.

  • 74.
  • At 12:36 PM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Malcolm wrote:

I would have liked to see more linkage back to comments made when the constitutation/laws were passed - was this 30 day limited expected etc.

  • 75.
  • At 01:02 PM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • mandy lawrence wrote:

I found the coverage of saddam's execution disturbing. An man lost his life because of crimes against humanity. This should surely be reported in a sombre manner whatever views are held on the rights or wrongs of execution. From 4a.m.yesterday ,there has been a lip-smacking excitement - the details of, for example, who wore what and whether Saddam's hands trembled, were repeated over and over again, and the tiitilating promise that the event had been filmed and we would soon be able to see the'real thing' almost up to the last moment. the bbc seems to think that some how it was morally okay to hatch up the entertainment value, so long as we did not see the actual moment of death. But we saw up to a few secconds before - we could see an elderly man facing severe and frightening punishment. I have managed not to see this filming by not watching any tv news for 2 days - many children will have seen this footage. One reporter said it was 'absolutely fascinating' = is that really what he meant and thought. I have been previously horrified by the reports that Saddam had enjoyed seeing people tortured. I didnt think the bbc would find similar events fascinating.
Please think whether this really was the best that the bbc could do?

  • 76.
  • At 02:19 PM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • shirley wrote:

I was deeply offended by the footage shown. Yes, I did expect a modicum of dignity and perhaps compassion from the BBC for a man facing death. I am a viewer who tuned into BBC24 to see if there had been a last minute stay of execution or if it taken place - one minute I was watching a clearly moved Ramsey Clark then turned to get my coffee and was faced with those images. Unpleasant and unnecessary. It seems even our most august institutions have have now become like those we/I most despise - so take a bow the gutter press and Sky News.

  • 77.
  • At 02:21 PM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Michelle Birkby wrote:

I was seriously shocked and shaken to see the footage of the noose being placed around Saddam's neck. I switched on the news and there it was - continually played, hour after hour, whenever the news was on, on both Sky and BBC. That means that all those receptions and offices and waiting rooms who play the news constantly showed the people waiting there footage of a man about to be hanged constantly. When I went online to check the news (knowing other events must have happened) I deliberatly chose the BBC website as opposed to Sky because I thought it wouldn't show such an horrific picture right on its front page. I was wrong.

Pubic executions were banned becasue they appealed to the basest, lowest, most animalistic instincts of humanity and we were supposed to be rising above that. Shame to the BBC for pandering to bloodlust, and returning to the days of public execution

  • 78.
  • At 02:48 PM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • M.Randle wrote:

With the mild warning given by John Simpson, and during the beginning of the sequence, the growing realisation of the likely effects, I hastily pressed a button before my wife and I saw the rest. What I did see was bad enough. Having in the past had violent death occur in front of my eyes, I had no wish to risk the distressing flashbacks that such experiences can give rise to for years afterwards. I went back to the news when I thought it might be safe to do so, only to find John Simpson about to revel in further details with one of the witnesses.

Your once great organisation is now vying with the rest of the media to be at the top of the sensationalism scale regardless of taste and decency.

I have long had, until now, great respect for John Simpson’s authoritative and dispassionate reporting. Sadly, his reputation will be besmirched forever in my eyes by this unaccountable abandonment of civilised standards.

From time to time, your reporters have told us that some of the images they have captured are too shocking to broadcast. It is difficult to imagine that they could consider anything in future as worse than this.

I fear that, as with the shots of aircraft flying into the Twin Towers, you will lose no opportunity, and need no excuse, to re-show these pictures without warning. I cannot be alone in viewing this prospect with utter dismay.

  • 79.
  • At 03:05 PM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Roz Jenkins wrote:

There has been mass outrage voiced at the insensitivity of a French author publishing a photo of Diana as she received treatment at the scene of her car-crash. A man being executed in an act of complete barbarity is shown on BBC tv and the editor attempts to justify this. It beggars belief.

  • 80.
  • At 03:29 PM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Murphy wrote:

"Many of our competitors don't have any permanent presence there..."

I am sorry, but this remark is confusing. Is there more Publicly funded broadcasters in the UK that i do not know about? I was under the impression that the BBC does not have any competition.

Maybe if the BBC spent less time trying to compete with commercial organisations (who are only in the business to sell advertising space after all) they would actually be able to start running a broadcast company that actually cared about its viewers/paymasters interests and not disregard them in favour of the pursuit of higher ratings.

  • 81.
  • At 03:31 PM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Observer A. wrote:

This was Shia justice not Iraqi justice.

  • 82.
  • At 04:05 PM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Ian wrote:

I appreciate that the BBC had a difficult decision to make with regard to this footage but feel this time got it wrong. As a comparison, last year there was the pictures of Jean Charles De Mendes on the tube train - although these were upsetting, there was a genuine requirement for these to be available due to the contradiction of the previous reports; I therefore wholeheartedly supported the use of these distressing photos. On this occassion the footage shown did not add to the story and went too far.

We in the west have witnessed the first and only public execution in hundreds of years.

I am appalled that the BBC and other media outlets have demeaned themselves and us by televising an execution and publishing these images.

The human race has truly scraped the barrel and I am shocked that even the BBC could not resist the temptation to pander to the lowest common denominator.

Newscasters are calling the video images 'astounding' and 'unprecedented'

What is astounding and unprecedented is how truly debased we have all become.

I am ashamed to be part of the human race today and now I truly hate the BBC and its competitors and the media in general.

I doubt I shall ever feel the same again. Human beings are vile and we don't deserve to be in charge of the planet.

  • 84.
  • At 04:38 PM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • David Jones wrote:

Interesting that the BBC claims to take the possibility of children watching into account when deciding what to show. I complained a few months back about a trailer shown before the Sunday morning Match of the Day, which exploited what the BBC considered to be the comic potentialities of prostitution and drug abuse. Of course, the response I received was arrogant and dismissive - par for the course for the BBC.

Nothing more from Mr Van-Klaveren I note - sacked, resigned, or lying low till people forget ?

Firstly, may I congratulate the BBC on providing tastelful, decent yet comprehensive coverage of Saddam's execution.

These are incredibly delicate days at the moment. The way in which the worldwide media cover this issue could set the public mood in the region for the coming days and months.

The BBC have reported accurately and appropriately and as such, the editorial decisions taken have upheld the corporations reputation for authoritative reporting.

I posted on this blog earlier. I commented then that the single stories in themselves seem to point to much wider issues in general. It's this 'bigger picture' which must be considered by the news editors as I personally think that the real questions and issues have yet to be asked and examined.

Paul Hurst

  • 86.
  • At 05:43 PM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • AD wrote:

To me, the photos of the Saddam hanging represents everything that is wrong with the 24 hour news media; remember those prostitute murders in Ipswich? Remember how the media poured over every minute detail hiring CSI-like analysts, psyschatrits and other people trying to outdo each other for the best coverage, trying to make it some kind of master stroke event that everyone will remember?

Remember how every single news channel suddenly forgot about this murder and they moved on to the next big thing, and suddenly a new race began? Who'd be the first to put pictures of Saddam's hanging on live tv - and all for ratings?! Right, the 24 hour news media was in a frenzy - "we must be allowed to compete in this 24-hour news media!" we hear - well I'm sick of it, and I've turned off all 24 hour news channels - you can keep your 24 hour news channels and your need to be FIRST with the breaking news -- I guess the only thing we don't have to worry about is whether the BBC, ITV or Sky would have had an auction to present the hanging live on TV on Pay-per-view all in the name of "competition".

And then, by the middle of next month the news media will have forgotton about it all, just like it forgets every "major" story it likes to cover and move on to the next agenda on their clipboards.

Well you can keep your 24 hour news and your so-called competition to be first with breaking news! I'm done with 24 hour news!

  • 87.
  • At 07:41 PM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Philip wrote:

I was a tad concerned at the readiness to show 'phone camera' footage on the BBC. Maybe I am being naive, but isn't there a danger that the veracity of the footage cannot be established ?

I also thought the balance on News 24 was loaded so far in favour of the Iraq story [very important, I grant you], that very little coverage was received of the sinking of the Indonesian ship.

That said the number of casualties in Iraq did rise throughout the day, and survivors were being found from the ship. All the same, it would be good to ensure that there isn't blanket coverage of one single story.

  • 88.
  • At 08:59 PM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Jim-UK wrote:

While I think the BBC done the right thing by showing this I have to wonder why you thought this was OK but ran scared from showing those Danish cartoons. More PC self censorship from the BBC?

Having seen the full video that was taken on someone's mobile phone I think it's a shame your not going to show the thing in full. Maybe that loud bang as the doors under his feet open would make people sit up and take notice of what's being done in their name by a puppet Iraqi government.

  • 89.
  • At 09:42 PM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Tamsin wrote:

I cannot believe the BBC showing the images of Saddam moments before his death first thing on Saturday morning, as a country that doesnt agree with capital punsihment it seem extremely unnecessary showing this. I'm sure we can all imagine the shocking reality of a hanging so do we really need to see it?!

And then to watch the evening news showing footage from someone's mobile phone?! Again is that really the kind of media we want to see?

And don't get me started on you showing the whole footage on BBC News 24! I think its digusting as no death is a good one and to publicised to the world no matter who they are or what they have done.

  • 90.
  • At 10:21 PM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • Niall wrote:

what has happened to the western world? has it totally lost it's stomach for accountability,and punishment. what does the future hold if we cannot hang a despot, dictator and murderer without international hand wringing and waves of conscience. god help us if another Hitler appears. As to showing pictures on television, life is cruel, murders still pay and many of us as children remember them throwing hundreds of bodies into mass graves at Belsen before Flash Gordon on a Saturday afternoon. Sadams hanging sends out a message to all dictators, meglomaniacs and fanatics, or should we just run away.

  • 91.
  • At 10:45 PM on 31 Dec 2006,
  • GUY FOX wrote:

THE BBC SHOULD STOP CENSORING ITSELF. AN HOUR AFTER THE IRAQIS HUNG THE CRIMINAL DICTATOR, GRAPHIC UNEDITED VIDEOS OF THE HANGING WERE POSTED ALL OVER THE INTERNET.

WE LAUGH AT EWE FOLKS.

  • 92.
  • At 01:15 AM on 01 Jan 2007,
  • Amitabh Thakur wrote:

Saddam Hussein has been a controversial figure in his life and he remains so when he is no more. He is also among the most well-known persons around the world. By his acts and deeds, whether good or bad and because of the circumstances, he was forced to occupy the center stage on world political scene for more than a decade. His transformation from a dictator to an ardent nationalist and a holy servant of Islam, carrying the Koran right up to the gallows, has made him a person who would not be easily forgotten.
To cover the last few moments of this man was an arduous task and a delicate one as well. I am vouch for it that BBC has been able to do it in almost an unbiased fashion and has tried to accommodate as many cross-section of views as possible, instead of making it a Euro-centric or western oriented news story, which sadly many of the American and British newspapers did.

  • 93.
  • At 01:28 AM on 01 Jan 2007,
  • Ali M. wrote:

What has happened to news reporting and journalism??

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6221481.stm
"But the unofficial video images - posted on the internet and shown on Arab and Western channels - ..."

Why was it not handed over to the media? why was this footage not sold?
which site did it come out on first?
How can the world suddenly find out about it BY CHANCE?

is this how bad reporting is (I do not mean the BBC in particular)? we need individual people with mobile phones to show us the truth?

A difficult decision and one that won't please everyone.

I have seen the official and the unofficial videos - by choice and I think there is more to these films than a simple record of an execution.

As the news broke we had the Iraqi government witnesses being interviewed, one telling us how proud he was that his country had performed the execution with dignity, another witness was claiming that it was carried out according to 'international and islamic' standards.

The film show that these claims were completely false, indeed it appeared to be more of a lynching than anything to do with justice.

For this reason the films are more than a mere record, they show how shabby, sectarian and shambolic they are.

  • 95.
  • At 12:07 PM on 01 Jan 2007,
  • Viewer wrote:

Let's see -- a rather vocal group seem to be saying here is that it is entirely acceptable for the BBC not to show the footage leading up to Saddam's hanging, while every other media outlet in the world does. What makes people think that the BBC cannot inform its viewers using carefully chosen pictures? I would guess the programme attracted quite a large audience that day and if that was the case it was in no small measure to the powerful images, pictures which will be seen as one of the defining sets of images of the century.

The danger of taking too much notice of people who respond here is the belief that these viewpoints are representative of the BBC's viewers. They most certainly are not. They comprise a viewpoint but in most cases a strong minority viewpoint. Forum responses need to be taken with a huge pinch of salt because they never reflect the representative view of the those who watch or listen to what the BBC puts out.

  • 96.
  • At 01:42 PM on 01 Jan 2007,
  • james newman wrote:

I was pretty horrified to see the footage on the BBC but more so the treatment of it. The footage prepared by the Iraqi government and witnesses interviewed by the BBC were treated by the BBC as fact, and then the mobile phone footage surfaced and it became clear there was a massive difference between the line being swallowed by the media and the reality of the situation. The BBC failed to address the fact that what they were originally showing was likely propaganda, it was not treated with cynicism. You'd have thought with all the other rubbish spouted about Iraq the BBC would by now have learned not to believe the official line and to be more questioning particularly as you're a tv station who know how easily things can be edited to create a misleading impression. It then continued with Saddams "sparsely" attended funeral, so sparsely attended that the t.v footage showed more people than could fit into the building despite the fact the man's family couldn't be present, there were massive security threats and it was happening on the Muslim version of Christmas Day. For an evil dictator who had just been executed for the crimes against his own people it was pretty well attended compared to most who get that fate or was the yardstick it was being judged by, that of a state funeral? The other interesting thing is how long it took the BBC to report the mobile phone footage whilst running an incorrect story. Don't you have any researchers checking websites like Digg and Flurl?

Some people advocate saying: Saddam killed his own people brutally and Bush and Blair also are having killed humans in Iraq but the victims are not their own people. All of them committed similar crimes.

Whereas, the former did that locally abusing his authority, while the lathers are doing so pretending that they are punishing a brutal killer. Do they have the right to punish anyone in abroad?

Who is/are committing severer crime is, of course, a question for the world of today.

  • 98.
  • At 03:18 PM on 01 Jan 2007,
  • John wrote:

People should go to a site like YouTube and watch the whole mobile phone video. The version being shown by the BBC is edited and a guy talks over everything, telling you what to think. The whole video shows that the 'abuse' was a few seconds, perhaps two comments, before someone shouts at the big mouth to shut up. The BBC version cuts out everything but the 10 seconds of innapropriate taunting and thereby implies that this was going on throughout the execution - it was not. Always question why people edit videos. Given the potential for violence in this region, I think the BBC is seriously out of order in editing this video to make it look worse.

  • 99.
  • At 05:10 PM on 01 Jan 2007,
  • Sam wrote:

what i'd like to know is how can they be sure that it was Saddam?

He had several doubles and Saddam had pearly white teeth and yet now it seems he has grey rotton teeth, i mean i'm sure the Americans might of roughed him up a bit but i can't see how his teeth can have gone rotton in such a short space of time.

If you put yourself in to Saddam shoes it would of been logical to leave the country as soon as the invasion happened and put a double is his place wouldn't it?

  • 100.
  • At 05:46 PM on 01 Jan 2007,
  • Andrea wrote:

To build on Carl's comment above, those against the death penalty (under any circumstance) should debate this with the relatives of Saddam's victims.

Interesting how so many people act as though the Iraqi government doesn't exist at all, as though the Americans put the noose around Saddam's neck.

It doesn't seem like a stretch to see that Saddam's behavior against the Kurds and his own citizens led to his demise.


  • 101.
  • At 06:17 PM on 01 Jan 2007,
  • hussain wrote:

Let us remember one thing regarding the official footage of the execution: Iraqis have no faith in the US-led Iraqi government and would not believe saddam's execution unless they see it with their own eyes. These people have lived through decades of lies...they trust no one and who can blame them!

  • 102.
  • At 08:37 PM on 01 Jan 2007,
  • Eric Fowler wrote:

I was appalled by the bogus "trial" and the hanging. Many of us are convinced Saddam Hussein was a butcher, but very few of us believe the stories about the mythical Weapons of Mass Destruction. Nobody stops to reflect that both stories come from the same unreliable sources.

I don't know who they hung, or why they hung him - the "Butcher of Baghdad" or just an obstreporous former lackey head of a client state.

"Butcher of Baghdad" - sheesh!

Oh, and as far as showing the video, I don't have a strong opinion. BBC did reasonably well.

Eric

  • 103.
  • At 09:39 PM on 01 Jan 2007,
  • Grant wrote:

I am surprised at the obvious liberal outcry over showing Saddam's hanging. The liberal press can’t get enough Iraq car bombing coverage with blood and gore. Every day we get all the 'stats' about how many died, what religion they were, how they died, and who killed them. Saddam wrote his own destiny. He refused to shut his mouth by flaunting his 'prowess' and invading Kuwait. He sucked billions from his country's resources for personal use. Now BBC shows some story about his daughter in Jordan in her Gucci glasses protesting her ruthless father's death. I'm sure 9/11 was just US propaganda also... This is the news! Report it! Thoroughly!
Let us expose the REAL world out there. If we all knew ALL that was happening, not just where the news crews go, many more of us would not be as liberal.

  • 104.
  • At 11:42 PM on 01 Jan 2007,
  • lester wrote:

It is an agreement somewhere that we as a country should never submit a person to torture.Islamic law is no different, they exercised an "eye for an eye". Saddam was tortured for what he did to those people as an act of war. We are not at war , Tony Blair and George Bush are and we are paying the price of delivering that man to torTure.It was a certainty that saddam would die so why did they not bomb him like all the rest GOD AND GEORGE BUSH only know. How many have died since he was captured and WE SAW IT ON THE NEWS.Dont have a go at the BBC for reporting, have a go at the people responsible for the act.

Audience sensitivity is the key issue: how much to show was the moot point. The BBC handled this well with the right balance. Hanging is most certainly a barbaric form of administering justice. Capital punishment is outmoded in this day and age, especially in the 21st century. He should have been tried at the Hague and justice should have been dispensed there. Whether the fledgling government in Iraq can ever sow the seeds of democracy is the big question-mark especially as everything in Iraq seems to function on purely brutal sectarian divisions. Iraq's future hangs on a delicate balance and careful consideration has to be given to the needs of the normal Iraqi and future generations to come. Iraqis have to charter their own course and be helped by experts from the United Nations and the World Bank. The Americans and the British should work under a United Nations umbrella to restore Iraqi dignity. Right now the Iraqis feel cowed down

  • 106.
  • At 09:47 AM on 02 Jan 2007,
  • John W wrote:

Shall we look at the possible deaths in Iraq at the hands of Saddam Hussain in comparison to the number of deaths at the hands of the coalition? This would be an interesting comparison. At what point does the acceptance of collateral damage in the pursuit of a greater good become unacceptable and who is accountable for these deaths? It is clear that with a dictatorship the penalty for this type of behaviour is death. Can we make ourselves as accountable? Are we saying that it is ok for us to sanctify the deaths of innocent civilians but must punish others who may make such decisions? Is it not as brutal to be burned alive at the hands of American or British forces? I would hope that the senior ranks of the military who are accepting and causing the deaths of possibly thousands of innocent civilians are held as accountable under Iraqi Law.

I cannot help but feel that the death of Saddam Hussain was the result of a witch-hunt to satisfy the sick needs for revenge. This was apparent in the taunts experienced by Saddam in his final moments.

I live and work in Al Mansur, Baghdad's Red Zone. I find life here very different from the BBC's agenda setting "reports"

John Simspon blathered on about Saddam going to the gallows glutching a Koran and said there was a vehicle ban imposed in Baghdad that day.

Both points were wrong.

It makes you wonder what else isn't quite right with BBC reports!

  • 108.
  • At 12:51 PM on 02 Jan 2007,
  • Dave O wrote:

I was just wondering why all I seem to hear about Saddams death is people complaining. First they complain about capturinging him, then about his trial, then about his death. Why, for once, can't people be glad that he's gone? How come once he was captured eveyone seemed to feel sorry for him? So what he got taunted just before the doors opened, I bet he wasn't all Mr Nice guy to all his victims was he? Some people must have short memories. I'm all for the death penalty, don't dish out what you can't take back I say. Saddam got his comupance. I say well done to the forces in Iraq and well played to the BBC, you're doing a marvellous job, keep up the good work and hopefully some of these people will grow up and maybe find something not to moan about!

  • 109.
  • At 01:28 PM on 02 Jan 2007,
  • Fia Fornari wrote:

What is the desired outcome of the BBC in showing the graphic images of the death penalty being invoked? These images are accessible to both children's and adults alike. As a country we oppose the death penalty. We consider ourselves to be a tolerant and fair nation. Why is the BBC not calling to account the UK/US governments as to why there were no impartial international observers present, to avoid a predictably vengeful killing. Instead we are complicit in a shameful act which equates with a lack of humanitarism shown by the dictators we seek to flush out. I am disappointed that the BBC news website hasn't given us much choice about the images, which are best sensationalist and the questions around them not very probing

  • 110.
  • At 04:52 PM on 02 Jan 2007,
  • Philip wrote:

There seem to be several instances of people here referring to 9/11, as though this has anything to do with Saddam Hussein...

Saddam did many despicable things, but he had no involvement with 9/11, so let us stop 'guilt by association'. Just because the yanks would like us to believe it, doesn't make it true.

  • 111.
  • At 05:50 PM on 02 Jan 2007,
  • Mairtin O'Cathain wrote:

Less about the decision on the showing of the execution, than about the decision to wheel out the Halabja coverage yet again, when it has long been clear that the Kurds killed that day were as likely to have been killed by the chemical and biological weapons of the Iranians than by Saddam's regime. What was the point in showing this again and perpetuating a myth even after Saddam was executed?

  • 112.
  • At 06:34 PM on 02 Jan 2007,
  • Sarah Neame wrote:

At 6.10 this evening without any warning images of a person's death were projected into my house, by, of all 'people' the BBC! The crucial points here are the time of day and the lack of a warning. This is totally unacceptable. Is there no censorship applied to News?
I do not agree with the concept that 'the people have a right to know', which I believe journalists use to justify using shock and horror rather than good writing to catch our attention. I went along with the earlier filming on the 10pm news, although I felt it was unnessary and inappropriate. This further coverage went too far!

  • 113.
  • At 12:18 AM on 03 Jan 2007,
  • DG wrote:

In general, I support the showing of the video. Personally, I didn't see it on television but over the internet at a time I chose. And I chose to watch it because the Blair government has involved us all in this and I think we need to see the full results of the invasion of Iraq.

If the BBC News dept does not show us the news then what is its job? Personally, I want to know as much as possible what is going on in the world.

I do appreciate, though, that it is not always appropriate shown at odd times when the tv happens to be "on" so in future I think the 9pm deadline should be applied to 24hr news channels. I wasn't aware that it wasn't.

For those who always want to be sheltered from anything unpleasant - don't switch on the news at all. Don't read Dickens. Don't buy newspapers. The world has always been an unpleasant place - full of poverty, corruption, hunger, thirst, volcanoes, floods, storms and wars, to name just a few.

Keep up the good work, Auntie. You don't get it wrong very often and you can't please us all.

  • 114.
  • At 01:28 AM on 03 Jan 2007,
  • J Westerman wrote:

Pretty sick!
We look down on previous generations with their public gallows. What is the difference?
There remains the fundamental problem that the news machine has to be fed.

  • 115.
  • At 12:46 PM on 03 Jan 2007,
  • Edward Akouri wrote:

When Nicolae Ceauşescu and his wife were executed, the world witnessed the act without any outrage or even comments.
Why is it that when pictures of Sadam Hussein being executed are shown or circulating, the whole issue becomes a controversial international issue?

Is political correctness a new fad? Or is it that the media are starving from lack of real front page news?

  • 116.
  • At 12:50 PM on 03 Jan 2007,
  • Anthony Freeman wrote:

Days after the fact BBC News 24 is still showing Saddam with the noose round his neck, only now it is to illustrate the arrest of the man who allegedly took these pictures.
This seems to reveal an absence of moral judgement from the editorial team.

  • 117.
  • At 02:05 PM on 03 Jan 2007,
  • Don MacKeen wrote:

In *none* of the BBC's reporting of Saddam's execution, was there any mention (beyond "Western support") of the USA and UK's involvement with Saddam. He was helped into power by the CIA, he was given credit, and arms by the USA, the UK, Germany - and none of this was mentioned in any of the BBC@s reports. If a country *other* than the USA had invaded another country, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths, and then the government that it helped set up executed the former leader - how would the BBC have reported that?

  • 118.
  • At 03:59 PM on 03 Jan 2007,
  • Bernard wrote:

Kevin.

So the BBC does censor the news then!

Stopping the film at the point of execution could be seen as the BBC trying to start a so called "conspiracy theory", could it not?

We never saw him die, so it's a scam. He's living on an Island somewhere with Lady Di and Elvis.

As for 'don't want to frighten the children'. No, just let them grow up thinking the world is all lollipops and roses eh?

As for the people who say Saddam was bad and deserved what he got. By your reasoning if anybody works for the Americans, they deserve to hang.

Best get the rope out for Mr Blair and Co then (please).

Bernard.

  • 119.
  • At 07:46 PM on 03 Jan 2007,
  • Barry Gunter wrote:

First I consider of the decision of the news editorial team to show images of Saddam's execution to be totally reprehensible. It was a major mistake and judging by the comments I read above only welcomed by the morally bankrupt. To compound this original error the BBC now seem to believe that multiple viewings have inured the lumpen masses to the point where a report on the arrest of the guard alleged to have taken phone images, needs to accompanied with the very images that have caused his arrest. Wake up! if he was wrong to take them you are wrong to show them. Is that simple enough for you to understand?

  • 120.
  • At 08:04 PM on 03 Jan 2007,
  • Max Johnson wrote:

I watched your footage with disbelief. Not that Saddam had been hanged but that you were showing it. The glee evidenced by your newsreaders was, admittedly probably more because you had the footage than at Saddam's death. I switched off and than started watching again five hours later, hoping that you had moved on. No luck.
We knew that he was to be hanged. Your only reason for showing that film was sensationalist crowing. Well done! You're right down there in the gutter with 'The Sun', now.

  • 121.
  • At 09:29 PM on 03 Jan 2007,
  • JimBob wrote:

I cant imagine there was much debate in the BBC about the decision to broadcast the footage. It was a no brainer. The only decision was about when and how much and the BBC got this right. I am shocked that anyone would be shocked by the decision. It is the news!
To those who are disgusted, or will no longer be paying their TV licence, every other major news broadacster in the world and almost without exception , every national newspaper showed it! Either they are all wrong or you are. The pictures will still be seen in 20 or 50 years time.
There isnt Capital Punishment in the UK,but this is entirely irrelevant to the question of the television coverage. The BBC didnt execute him!

The official complaints don't dignify a response. I concur with a previous poster that the comments posted here should not be thought representative, just as if there were a discussion about 9/11 conspiracies, every wierdo would come out of the woodwork. Naive or thick?

  • 122.
  • At 12:05 AM on 04 Jan 2007,
  • joanne wrote:

Evidence from a senior Iraqi court official provides compelling evidence that Americans took all mobiles except two used openly by "high-ranking government officials". This confirms that the mobile phone video was not recorded secretly, but was done openly and with government approval, and that the Americans controlled who was allowed in with any mobile phone. This reinforces the belief that both the making, and the leaking of the video, was deliberate black propaganda to further inflame the civil war.

  • 123.
  • At 09:21 AM on 04 Jan 2007,
  • susan a williams wrote:

How much more hypocritical and irresponsible can the BBC news team become.I have read the explanation of a decision to show the execution of Sadam Hussein which has been repeated.Are you comfortable that young children will have watched this?Are warnings of this violence restricted to drama?You are inflaming an already explosive situation.Is the news regardless of the time exempt from any restrictions? You have more than appalled and disgusted me.

  • 124.
  • At 09:52 AM on 04 Jan 2007,
  • Conrad wrote:

There is a big difference in reporting the news of Saddam's execution and the manner in which it was carried out and the showing of gruesome pictures.

We do not have any say in what is put on our screens. Yes we can turn off, but it is too late by the time the pictures are shown.

Not only were they shown - but repeatedly!! Sickening!!

Why??

  • 125.
  • At 03:12 PM on 04 Jan 2007,
  • Liz wrote:

Bring back censorship!!!!!

This is a ridiculous topic to be discussing! Whatever your opinion on capital punishment, is totally irrelevant. The execution happened and we are entitled to know and witness all of the available facts without having the 'bad bits' removed. I would not want my children growing up in a world where they can see terrible situations in movies, yet fail to link them to the real world. This is the world in which we live, it's harsh and it's real. Everyone complaining about the BBC broadcasting choice really does subscribe to the 'ignorance is bliss' way of life.

  • 126.
  • At 03:34 PM on 04 Jan 2007,
  • Sam wrote:

Interesting, Auntie, the preceeding comments skirt the issue of death as news. Should we see death on tv ? No of course not, but to imply that Mr Hussains death is any different to a mob death in the states or a civilian 'casualty of war' is stupid. No death should be permissable because he was a bad man, are we any better for killing him??
Someone above said that we should show killing of Saddam and civilians and soldiers etc, and whilst that may be too much I agree that the british media tends to sensetionalise certain events at the expense of the wider picture, perhaps some more depth and a little reality check is requred, eh Auntie?

Yours(Hopefully)

Sam

  • 127.
  • At 09:22 PM on 04 Jan 2007,
  • Neil Ruckman wrote:

I think the BBC and its editors should be aware that not everyone 'actively' chooses to watch News 24. It is now shown in motorway services without sound - which means that no warnings about the nature of subsequent material can be heard. We and our two children (aged 3 and 7)saw the piece about the execution up to the noose being placed about Saddam Hussein's neck when we stopped for lunch at a motorway services as it was unavoidable on the TV Screen next to the food hall. We are now dealing with the fallout of this image with our children. However I should also point out that other families had camped out in front of the screen with their children and objected when I asked a manager to turn the screen off; these families wanted to cheer and applaud the execution. Well done BBC, may be we could have a world cup of executions in the future.

  • 128.
  • At 12:26 PM on 06 Jan 2007,
  • Bill Parnaby wrote:

I appreciate that the following may repeat comments of others, but I can only hope that weight of opinion may sway editorial policy.

Whatever one may think of the execution of Saddam, it cannot be right to show video of any of the event, especially at times when children may be watching. The only purpose served is to provide 'entertainment' to those who would wish to watch so called 'snuff' movies. Simple reporting of the fact of the execution is all that is needed, without gratuitous details. I have to admit that I was surprised by the reporting by John Simpson, a reporter for whom I have previously held considerable respect, who seemed to take great pleasure in giving a moment by moment commentary on what, even for those who may agree with the practice, is surely a ghastly business.

Please BBC let us have higher standards.

  • 129.
  • At 03:13 PM on 06 Jan 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

What a strange society we in the 'civilised west' live in. Television and cinema are keen to fictionalise death in the most brutal manner possible in order to attract audiences. Yet when it comes to seeing the bodies of dead Iraqis our screens are cencorsed in the extreme.

Why is this? Why DO the media bombard us with gruesome fictionalised television and cinema but "protect us" from the evils carried out by our Governments?

Is it because the real horrors of seeing death on our news screens would instantly make the waging of wars like this so much harder?

I think so.

  • 130.
  • At 06:59 PM on 06 Jan 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

Oh come on everyone. It was bound to happen! The BBC TV,like all the other channels, are very fond of reality TV and have to pander to the baying masses and churn out this kind of cheap rubbish. It wouldn't suprise me if someone came up wtih Jimmy Carr's top 100 executions. What's the problem, it happens and lets face it, people love it.
Listen to the radio for goodness sake then you don't have to put up with Deal or No Deal, Eastenders, Big Brother or various executions.
Switch it off and get a life.

  • 131.
  • At 10:57 PM on 06 Jan 2007,
  • KB wrote:

I consider it totally unnecessary that you are showing these images. I have just seen them on the 10:30 news.

This is the not the first time I have felt this way about BBC1 news - unexpected and disturbing images - no warning before they are run.

I will do my best to avoid watching anything other than Newsround in future if this is what I can expect.

  • 132.
  • At 12:48 PM on 07 Jan 2007,
  • Lord TMortis wrote:

His execution was better than let him alive. I do not like solving problems by killing, but I agree with this. Now we are assure he will not kill anyone else.

  • 133.
  • At 02:04 PM on 07 Jan 2007,
  • Ros Docherty wrote:

To all those who try to excuse the showing of Saddam's execution by saying that all the other broadcasters in the world were showing it and therefore this justifies the BBC showing it I would likt to say this. We are not reponsible for the actions of other nations broadcasting services but we do pay our licence here and are therefore responsible for OUR actions. Other people making wrong actionsis not in any way justification for us to do wrong too.
it was wrong to show the execution of Saddam anywhere and aslo worng of the BBC to do it.

  • 134.
  • At 03:06 PM on 07 Jan 2007,
  • Mary McFarlane wrote:

Please ENOUGH ENOUGH ENOUGH about Saddam Hussein's execution and what everybody thinks about it - we have had it as headlines for over a week now. Let Iraq deal with it - he was handed over to them to do the deed. What does it matter now what everybody else thinks, it's too late.

By the way, I don't have a television and don't pay a licence fee - I am just sick of hearing about it on the radio every time there is a news bulletin.

  • 135.
  • At 03:34 PM on 09 Jan 2007,
  • Sue Pile wrote:

I find it appauling that days after Saddam Hassein's execution we are still being subjected to constant re-runs of the whole event 'just so the BBC can tell the story' !

Why I ask, do we need to veiw the events time and time again? Surely the journalists are gifted with the art of writing to cover news events with out going into the whole morbid TV film coverage.

Do you think the crux of this matter is the why we need to go into such graphic detail about events such as these.

  • 136.
  • At 03:54 PM on 10 Jan 2007,
  • Scooby wrote:

Some people think the execution of Sadaam Hussein will turn him into a martyr. Doubt it. The only person I can think of whose influence lasted after he was executed was Jesus Christ. The indignity of his last few minutes has been widely reported and deplored, not least from John Prescott, although seeing him in a fistfight with a member of the electorate during the General Election campaign doesnt add a lot of weight to his view. No, the indignity of Sadaam Husseim lay not in death but in life. He ended his Presidency of Iraq cowering in a hole and its only ironic he should end his life by falling through another.

  • 137.
  • At 04:54 PM on 10 Jan 2007,
  • Neil Harris wrote:

News 24 provides many irritations. Newscasters who put an 'a' after everya worda, continual use of 'of course' when it doesn't follow logically, incomplete reporting of the FA Cup draw. But these all fall into insignificance compared with the coverage of Sadam's execution. Over the last 11 days it has been shown at every possible opportunity, with any excuse. Some things, if they must be done at all, should be done in private. This is definitley in this category. the public should not be subjected to this. Please don't show it again so that I won't have to be continually alert to change channel.

  • 138.
  • At 08:21 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • rajesh wrote:

First of all , i am against execution of saddam hussein, mr bush as done the work as his name is i.e (Blow up saddam hussein)

now he can take liberty regarding the oil matters, which is only the one which he does not have in his many list. being from india, i expect he do interefere in our underworld contacts like pulling down dawood ibrahmin and main global terrorists

i hope he does.

  • 139.
  • At 12:26 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Deirdre wrote:

Rajesh: do you continually worry about executions (by various methods) in the arab and muslim world? Do you look at Amnesty International's reporting of executions in Iran (where children are executed---you can also be stoned to death there)? By the way Japan executed four people on Christmas day. Did this worry you at all?

  • 140.
  • At 03:08 AM on 13 Jan 2007,
  • BMR wrote:

Totally unnecessary to show any footage of any execution. To say he was executed was enough....no graphics.

  • 141.
  • At 09:40 AM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • kathryn wrote:

Given the care taken not to show the noose around Sadam Hussains neck, its a shame the same attention to detail wasn't used this morning 15/01, when describing at 0810 on Breakfast that a former aide's head became detached during his execution.

  • 142.
  • At 05:38 PM on 03 Feb 2007,
  • GadZ wrote:

I was disappointed that the BBC News did not show the whole execution. But then, we do live in a country full of PC do-gooders who support the release of paedophiles back into the community!

Showing the execution would have sent a message to all tyrants - big and small. At least it was available on the web.

The real world is full of nasty people who need to be hunted down and dealt with properly. In some cases this means execution - there is no other option. (Perhaps we should start with the former American Governor who presided over more executions in his state than any other Governor in the last 30 years - one G.W. Bush?)

Otherwise we are all doomed to live in a dangerous world where psychopaths are free to do as they please while we merely look on!

  • 143.
  • At 11:11 PM on 04 Aug 2007,
  • joshua wrote:

I justwould of like to witness his hangin in person just to make sure but we can never be truly sure

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