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Why we showed gunman

Peter Horrocks Peter Horrocks | 22:53 UK time, Thursday, 19 April 2007

Many people have been asking whether broadcasters should have transmitted the video that Cho Seung-hui created before he went on his murderous rampage. And I have been asked whether the BBC would have transmitted a similar video if it had emerged after, say, a similar mass killing at a British university.

I think there are different questions, depending on whether one might be the first disseminator of sensitive material. If the BBC had received such a video we would have spoken to the police first to get their assessment of any investigatory, legal or public safety issues that they might want to draw to our attention. We would not be handing editorial control to the police. Its use would be our decision but we would want to take their view into account.

Secondly, we would consider the possible reaction of family and friends of the victim. There are a number of occasions where we have sensitive material which we hold back until families of victims have been informed. In this case we would have wanted to alert the relevant police family liaison officers to tell relatives of some potentially highly upsetting content

Having made those initial calls I believe the BBC, in receipt of such a video, would probably have transmitted some, although not all, of it.

As to what of the NBC video should be transmitted, we decided what was editorially relevant for our audiences. For our TV audiences, where people are not choosing to watch a specific item in the way the online audience can, we bear in mind the time of day, who may be watching and the editorial purpose. Today we have tried to give context round the short clips we have used. We have interviewed experts who have been able to relate the clips to the emerging picture of the killer's state of mind and what we can learn about why such killings happen.

We have not replayed large chunks of the video endlessly on News 24 or BBC World. We are well aware of the concern that the video may lead others to copy or emulate him. Indeed we have interviewed people discussing that dilemma. However, given that the video is already widely available, we had to judge whether withholding the video from BBC audiences was the appropriate thing to do. We decided that playing short clips, responsibly contextualised, could aid understanding of the story.

However, from 24 hours after our original transmission we will not use moving images or actuality from the video. Stills from the video may be used but we will exercise restraint over excessive use of the more alarming images.

Comments

I find your comments to be hypocritical and irresponsible. News agencies should be held accountable for promoting what these very disturbed individuals do. We do not need to see this mans image promoted along with your advertisements. I have lost a tremendous amount of respect and confidence in the integrity of the BBC.

  • 2.
  • At 11:38 PM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • Ray Fleming wrote:

Hmm. Whilst I accept that you made a professional judgement, I personally think it was the wrong decision. The video will add to the picture of the Cho's instability and his mental state, but that picture was already being graphically drawn for us by the other things which had emerged. We can understand his hateful writing by hearing about it - I don't need to see the words on the page. This is the same.
And my deeper concern is whether somebody would emulate all aspects of what has happened, encouraged by the follow-on coverage.

  • 3.
  • At 11:39 PM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • David wrote:

The BBC showed it for the same reason as the rest of the news teams around the world. To not show the video would give the competition an advantage. Simple as that. You knew the fear-loving SKY and ITV people would show it and you got scared, afraid of losing out on a great story. People are gore-mongers who love to watch this trash. There was a time when the BBC would not have stooped so low as to validate what this young man did by refusing to glorify his actions, as he wanted them to. Now the corporation panders to the masses instead of leading by example. There is absolutely no reason to show the tape and to make excuses in the name of public interest is a great shame.

  • 4.
  • At 11:49 PM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • Mark Bundy wrote:

Dear BBC News,

I am a regular Canadian viewer of your news broadcasts and I usually find them to be exemplary in their depth and over-all professionalism. However, I feel you erred greatly in broadcasting images from the
"manifesto" left by the mass murder of Virginia Tech.
I do not want, nor do I need to see these images. I feel they not only add nothing to our understanding of this
terrible tragedy but actually further the aims of such ill individuals. Here in Canada, the CBC already had a policy in place on such material. They have verbally repeated some of the text of this person's writings but have shown no pictures. The advice they received from psychologists on airing such material is that doing so often acts as an unintentional trigger for other mentally ill individuals. I am horrified by the lax
gun laws in the United States that allow such people to gain weapons so easily. Perhaps it is time to be horrified by journalists that disregard the consequences of their actions.

  • 5.
  • At 11:56 PM on 19 Apr 2007,
  • Arkady wrote:

Why the BBC showed the video: because they can. It's the only rule that journalists still follow.

  • 6.
  • At 12:00 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

I don't see a great deal of difference between the clip shown of Seung-hui and clips of Al Queda members or IRA members.

It's good that the BBC consider carefully before airing a clip, which I doubt would be the same tact in the US where ratings are the number one consideration.

  • 7.
  • At 12:05 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Cary Charles wrote:

All sounds very convincing . . . but we also have a current problem in the UK with shootings amongst youngsters, particularly in London. By showing the clips you have merged finding celebrity / making videos with the act of killing.

Sadly, the intense visual impact of the video registered far more powerfully than any discussion around it from older people to 'give it context' etc.

I am appalled it was shown. It smacks more of the BBC competing to keep up with other media sources rather than responsibly filtering what it shows.

Whether it was poorly thought through or an appalling decision, it will contribute to the shaping of the society we live in.

I recall reading that for every reported crime of such a nature, approximately seven imitations are committed, and they too are usually reported (The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker).

You have set that cycle into motion again and you keep it spinning. Remember that when the next shooting happens. And also remember it when reporting on war, since murders escalate at times of war too, partly because the act of killing is 'legitimised' and partly because some sad people think it is a way to be noticed.

The whole thing is really sad. You are a creative force, shaping our culture. Think next time.

I mean . . . REALLY think.

  • 8.
  • At 12:11 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Zena Lazarus wrote:

He should not have been immortalised in this way, any more than suicide bombers should have their "farewell" messages broadcast. That alone can encourage copy-cat followers but in the case of V. Tech, much more consideration should have been shown to the victims and their families

  • 9.
  • At 12:21 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Charles Indahl wrote:

I am an American living and working in Indiana. As if it weren't enough that this event happened in the first place, today at lunch, while visiting a sandwich shop, I couldn't help but notice the disturbing image of an angry young man aiming a handgun at me from the front page of a newspaper. The image was so large that I could see it vividly from across the room, near-sighted though I may be. I did not appreciate this, nor will I ever be convinced this was necessary to publish.

The overwhelmingly sensationalist nature of American news organizations offends me daily, but more so this week, and especially today. There was so much disturbing coverage of these new images today that even the news coverage itself was in the news this evening. I have always appreciated the balance and consideration of BBC news, and I really appreciated this editorial comment.

Just as Americans all over will go back to treating each other with as little civility and consideration as they did in the weeks prior to and following 911 and Columbine, so will they again next week. It will, however, be nice to know that at least one news organization will retain its sense of tact and integrity.

Thank you, and keep up the fine work.

  • 10.
  • At 12:29 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Zac wrote:

well,
i think that they should have released the video,
i don't know why but they should've

  • 11.
  • At 12:36 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

The ordinary law abiding families of the victims are no threat to the BBC. The BBC must have known the grief and offense these would have casued.

What a contrast to the BBC refusal to show the Danish cartoons of Mohammad because Muslims would find them offensive.

Usual double standards from the BBC.

  • 12.
  • At 12:42 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Sam wrote:

I expected the BBC would be one of the few to make a better decision. You are the most respected news organization in the world, I was shocked to see the videos on BBCworld. At the same time as a Canadian I was proud of the CBC who did not air the tapes for the reasons below:

Why CBC News won't broadcast the material:
At the CBC, we debated the issue throughout the evening and made the decision that we would not broadcast any video or audio of this bizarre collection.

On CBC Television, Radio and CBC.ca, we would report the essence of what the killer was saying, but not do what he so clearly hoped all media would do. To decide otherwise — in our view — would be to risk copycat killings.

I had this awful and sad feeling that there were parents watching these excerpts on NBC who were unaware they will lose their children in some future copycat killing triggered by these broadcasts.

Tony Burman, editor-in-chief, CBC News

  • 13.
  • At 12:44 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Chris, London wrote:

I am personally dismayed by what I consider to be irresponsible behaviour by an increasingly 'sensationalist' media. The fact is Cho carried out his acts in order that the media would play his video. Those people died so that you would show it.. what will be next? A live-on-air homicide?

Make no mistake, this will happen again largely because the media have proved that human life is less important to them than the story. Any psychopath will now be assured that he will be heard around the world.

Cho's words are vile and nothing he could possibly say holds any interest for me. His video should have been consigned to a furnace and his wishes never met.

  • 14.
  • At 12:45 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Ann wrote:

In a way, I think showing the video may have answered a lot of questions that people had as to what kind of mindset this young man had leading him to do what he did.
The only problem is that news agencies in North America tend to show them over and over again as if something in them might change.

  • 15.
  • At 12:47 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • b moreland wrote:

BBC, NBC, CBS et al can justify showing that obscene video from now until Judgement Day and you are still guilty of being jackals on the bodies of the victims. Are you ever ashamed of anything you do in the name of "the public's right to know"?

  • 16.
  • At 12:47 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Dick wrote:

You showed the VT murderer's rantings, you showed the 'chocolate Jesus'. But you didn't show the Muhammad cartoons.

The real reason is that the BBC and its journalists would become a target with the Muhammad cartoons. Yet you dress up the double standard with fine words.

If the VT madman made racist comments would you have show it? Probably.

If he mad anti-Islamic comments would you have shown it? probably not.

  • 17.
  • At 01:08 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

We all know why you showed the gunman, to keep up with America's sensationalizing mass media. Because your superficial broadcasts have turned you into the British Blurbcasting Network. Maybe you should be renamed BNN Headline News or BNE The British National Enquirer. Got any exclusives on juicy new scandals about Tony Blair, Grodon Brown, or the Royal Family?

I'm still waiting for a reply to my questions about Paul Coletti's blog entry the other day.

  • 18.
  • At 01:11 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • James wrote:

I would question the decision to use any footage - moving or still. Regardless of whether or not the footage is available elsewhere, the BBC is a last bastion of responsible journalism and should be raising the bar for others to strive towards. If all it takes to achieve eternal notoriety and worldwide renown is to go on a killing spree and mail your video off to NBC, CNN or the BBC, what's to stop the next attention seeking nutjob from doing it?

People are doing a lot of hand wringing and asking why this sort of thing keeps happening - why it's happening more and more frequently. I think the media has to take a good look at itself and accept part of the blame.

Please, focus on the human tragedy and report responsibly but clinically on the facts of the matter.

  • 19.
  • At 01:17 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Drew Hayden wrote:

The press is a business providing what the greater portion of the public wants to see and know. If the killers manifesto was turned over on a desk, 90% of folks would flip it over and read.

  • 20.
  • At 01:40 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • tess wrote:

People are interested in this story. People want to understand what causes someone to commit such atrocities. When 100 other news sources are showing the video tapes, with in my opinion much less contextual content around them, it would be pointless for the BBC to not show the content. Everyone knows this guys name anyway - people in many parts of he world are discussing his actions - the tapes haven't suddenly vaulted him to fame.

Working at a university with a campus not unlike VT I was shocked by the level of empathy that I felt with the people involved. However, personally the videos made me reach saturation point. I do not need to read, watch or here the same information again. Now the time for me to consider the fate of the 100s that have died in Iraq this week - both innocent civilians and military persons.

  • 21.
  • At 01:42 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Niall O'Mara wrote:

why is it valid to show the video on the day you first get it but then not valid 24 hours afterwards - I really cannot fathom the logic behind that other than it appearing that you want to show the video but feel guilty about it

  • 22.
  • At 01:53 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Heidi wrote:

I watched the BBC World broadcast at 7pm EST on BBC America tonight (Thursday 19th). Although not personally connected to anyone at Virginia Tech I found the use today of even the still images, particularly those showing the guns being pointed directly at the camera distressing and wholly unnecessary. Even while the report admitted that the VT students wish the media to stay away and that the use of the images was controversial you still went ahead with further coverage at Virginia Tech and repeated use of the images and video. There is now no longer a need for you to do either of these, to do so just serves to glamourise the acts of a very disturbed individual and to add to the pain of so many when they are trying to deal with unimaginable trauma. I am not satisfied by your justification of the decisions made. I expected more from the BBC.

  • 23.
  • At 01:54 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Mike Brassard wrote:


Would not material coming directly from the suspect of a mass murderer be considered evidence in a criminal investigation and subject to being turned over to the police rather than being contaminated by mere handling, let alone being passed around from department to department for air play?

How would you contact the fifty odd killed or wounded next of kin and the hundreds of traumatized witnesses to give them a heads up that you will be playing what would be called their assailant's suicide note?

I know the media's job is to sell ad space. Mass murder is a ratings getter, so I can see where most North American media is coming from - including Canadian media who ran identical pictures of the killer on their front pages in Toronto.

I caught a summary on the Internet. That was plenty for me. Rehashing and re-playing again again is only punishing and re-traumatizing the people who witnessed or who were wounded by Hui.

While the media has licence to get the news out, media does not have the right to assault the victims again and again.

  • 24.
  • At 01:55 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Ivo wrote:

You gave this guy what he wanted. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  • 25.
  • At 01:59 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Reggie Luper wrote:

I am not from UK but am from USA, and can see an enormous different between media of USA and BBC. Being a college student myself, I try to understand the shooter's situation but cannot fully understand it.

As for the question of whether or not to show video I think that it is crucial for some of the video to be shown but in moderations. Your idea is right; however, NBC too, said a very similar statement with their comments on tonight's news in which they claimed to have considered all of those things and even said that they cooperated with police and, as you said, only presented a fraction of the content which was itself highly edited.

I believe that media is always biased and here it is purely means of entertainment and is no way obligated to the truth with the exception of losing popularity. The images that the media did show weren't informative, but were emotional. The photos of the bullets, him with guns, video of his final words, and the video's of shooting were all sensationalism.

You are right in that you should moderate the violence and such of news but the videos and photos in which you shared to the public weren't the ones that should have been shown. On your News homepage I see an Asian boy pointing a gun at me, does this bring me to emotion? Sure, he must be a madman or some cool gunmen. Why must you choose that image over an image of him without a weapon? Is it as you said, or is what you said an imitation of our own media in which you subtly criticize.

NBC admitted they should have thought more about their decision to air the videos so early, but I believe it is an empty apology just as are many things today... empty. Please don't justify yourself by saying 'they did it first' or directing the blame elsewhere. Just as there are groups who profit from war in losing or winning, there are groups who profit from death and shock. . .

Copycats around the country and possibly the world are evident. In my school district alone 4 high schools were on lock down with one student committing suicide. The images they see on TV and the system in which they are socialized by I believe is a cause of these copycats as they see the success and popularity or rather infamous attention the gunmen are endowed.

I don't expect you to publish this comment but I hope for some meaning to come out from it.
-luper


This is a sound and just view which has the right balance between what is pushed on the TV and what can be user-requested on the website.

I am glad that such careful consideration exists within the spirit of the BBC, it is what makes the BBC a truly one of a kind corporation with such good moral values that the british can be proud of.

  • 27.
  • At 02:17 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Samuel Margoles wrote:

I do not think it was wise to play the video from the mass killer at Virginia Tech. If "the media is the message," the media is sending the wrong message by airing it. It has no social redeeming value. It hurts the families of the slain. It might inspire some other deviant. In the video itself, the killer praises other killers who have done similiar evil. It is the ravings of one mentally deranged. It does not deserve to be played. The media has been like a mad circus here in America over this. It has been a feeding frenzy. It goes on and on. It would be better to remember the fallen, than to put so much emphasis on the killer. News is one thing. This was sheer propaganda by a deviant seeking recognition. Why play into his hands, when the payoff can only be negative?

  • 28.
  • At 02:19 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • SV wrote:

I think that it is important for the public, at least those at a distance from the massacre, to see this video. It is important to try to understand why this kid went out of control. I'm guessing that he was normal at some stage in his life. That is why it is all so scary, and why we shouldn't just close our eyes and ignore it.

  • 29.
  • At 02:20 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Helene Robertson wrote:

What your editors may not have taken into account, and what the editors world wide may not have done, is the impact of airing that footage on potential copycats or other assailants. If what drives these young men to murder is the desire to be famous, you are granting them their wish at the costs of many innocent lives. The weighing should not merely be public interest versus private family intersts, but public interest versus public interest.

I was disheartened immediately on seeing the reports on the shooter's videos, having not watched any. It added to the potential 'glory' for any copycats.

Helene, Ottawa, Canada

  • 30.
  • At 02:25 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • S Nichols wrote:

What possible purpose is served by showing the video? Here in the states, it has spewed forth for over 24 hours. It serves no purpose other than to fuel the copycats that are bound to follow.
Follow the lead of the CBC, whose editor-in-chief wisely chose to show NO video or pictures. In declining, he mentioned his thoughts of the parents watching NBC News, who might someday have to bury a child killed by a copycat.
The BBC should be above (far above) the muck we slog through here.

  • 31.
  • At 02:30 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • David Ivory wrote:

Yes but you pandered to a killer's wish.

Given the amount of material and that he sent it to a news organistaion he obviously intended to achieve fame, or infamy, with his act. In all likelihood this was a large part of his motivation. He wanted to become a media star.

Excuses like: "others had done it so we can too" - only feed the frenzy.

Pretty disappointed that the media have thus helped him achieve his delusions of granduer, but perhaps forewarned they will not be so ready to do so in the future.

  • 32.
  • At 02:36 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Herman Carnell Michael McCrea wrote:

Pardon me, sir, but your words ring hollow in light of the fact that the link that brought me to your verbage, bore a very disturbing image of ------- aiming one of his pistols at the camera. Perhaps you are/were unaware of the fact, but I am.

That being said, I paraphrase now something I wrote to a colleague this morning: I don't want to be drenched in imagery of ------ at a time when we should be bathed in the glow of the pictures and the memories of the lives of the slain, their beauty, their tenacity, their dreams, their bright futures.

Thank you for your time and compassion.

Herman Carnell Michael McCrea..

  • 33.
  • At 02:39 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • yoda wrote:

the media are the fear makers, leads to anger, leads to hate, leads to suffering

  • 34.
  • At 02:41 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Frank Fontaine wrote:

Well, simple, you knew that you would get lots of strong reactions for something that definitely cannot be called journalism but dirty voyeurism...
You knew that you would have to remove it quickly from your website....
Sure....

But in the meanwhile, you got record visits' number for your website which is all what matters as it means economic return for you -$$$$$$$-....

Am I right?

Frank

Justify it all you want, rationalise it whatever way you can, I am sorry but this is sheer irresponsibility.

The BBC has suffered from biased reporting (and is still biased) and now, it has gleefully succumbed to a ratings war and has gone ahead and published the manifesto of a madman, playing into Cho's hands. I am sad at the decline of this once great institution.

  • 36.
  • At 02:45 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • joe chojnacki wrote:

I e-mailed the following to MSNBC earlier today:

I just read in a BBC story that NBC is being criticized for broadcasting Cho's videos and photos.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6572743.stm


I, for one, want to thank you for making these materials available. I agree that they're disturbing, but as long as there is an appropriate warning attached, I find the video of this deeply disturbed man extremely valuable in helping citizens make sense of this horrible event. It gave me a window into this troubled individual's suffering, and with it, clues to how we all can help prevent such tragedies in the future - in this case, by making a little more of an effort to engage those who seem isolated from the community around them. It reminds me of the importance of fostering a sense of community in today's fragmented society, and the profoundly sad consequences that can result from our failure to do so. I know this message would not have resonated with me if it was left to a journalist to filter and deliver the information to me. One can argue about whether it is our responsibility to engage these loners, or theirs to engage us; but the bottom line is that we millions of individuals are the ones best positioned to head off future tragedies - with a little preventative compassion. While our societal structure works breathtakingly well given its size and complexity, it cannot continue do so unguided; our society needs us to steward it and rise to the challenges of the moment so that it becomes and remains the kind of society we want it to be.

Many thanks. Stay safe,
Joe Chojnacki
Honolulu, HI

  • 37.
  • At 02:47 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • mark sherman wrote:

It's clear that this young man is a posthumous master of media manipulation. NBC'S decision to broadcast guaranteed that outlets like the BBC would not be able to avoid broadcasting his images, guaranteeing his place in an evil pantheon that is sure to be emulated.

  • 38.
  • At 02:53 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Kathy Nelson wrote:

I am so appreciative of your sharing your thoughts and your evaluative processes concerning the showing of parts of this video. I am especially appreciative of your careful consideration of the families involved. I am thankful for the short period of time parts of the video were available online and the fact you chose not to exhaustively present the video on television. You are absolutely correct in thinking a reader of your online news site would make a personal decision in whether to view parts of this video or not. It took me some time to decide for myself. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SENSITIVE AND THOUGHTFUL APPROACH TO A HORRIFIC SITUATION. This is a rarity in our often media crazed global society.

  • 39.
  • At 02:58 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Les wrote:

I applaud the news networks for showing this. It is NEWS. It is reality and we need to see this, however uncomfortable it makes us feel. The victim's families are obviously in the raw, early stages of grief and won't want to see it now- but one day they probably will and it could be of great help to them. As for fame- I don't think this guy was after that- I think he wanted to be heard. And potential mass murderer's traits are identifiable by the ages 7 - 9 yrs old. I don't think the footage will encourage anyone to copycat. However the networks are wise to use restraint now- we don't want to make a celebrity and or a martyr out of him.

  • 40.
  • At 02:58 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Matt Kerlin wrote:

I wonder why the families of victims were not asked whether the video images might add further mental anguish to an already suffering community.

  • 41.
  • At 02:58 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Nancy Brian wrote:

I find it ironic that the Mohammed cartoons were too insulting yet Chos murderous ramblings were simply news. Congratulations! You assisted Cho in getting exactly what he wanted... his victims got exactly what they didn't.

  • 42.
  • At 02:59 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Lubomir Dzamba wrote:

Good Evening BBC Executive team
I am extremely disappointed with the poor judgment of BBC executive team to air the Virginia Tech Killer’s video and photographs.

I am astounded that you BBC people, faces who we trust with character forming force such as delivery (and to certain degree interpretation) of our daily news, are so detached from us your viewers. I am amazed that you care more about your ratings than the trust of us, your viewers (In a sense your golden goose).

By celebrating/exploiting this terrible crime, you have gained nothing. You have let us down and I am not sure if we will ever trust you again.

I am 52 year old and I am ashamed of my generation, a generation which will go down in the history books as a bright but careless force willing to sell it all for ratings, stock prices and sales figures. I am ashamed of my generation which has embedded countless images in our history books of non-ethical crime exploiting news, non ethical book subjects, non ethical movies as well as non-ethical investments killing our planet. And we have done all that for a few more bucks we truly did not need.

I am a 52 year old father of three sons studying at two Universities here in Toronto, and I had no choice but to apologize to all three of them for my generation which not only decided to poison the planet for future generations, but now decided to create a line of criminal pseudo heroes which will poison the minds of innocent young generations to come.

I hope the young people will see it as it is and will be able to save their children from this self destructing cycle.

As for you BBC folks I believe it is time for me to turn off the lights of your shows, unsubscribe some cable connections, and find a more trustworthy way how to see my world.

Lubomir Dzamba

  • 43.
  • At 03:06 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • louise wrote:

Dear Sir;I read your article with interest which I stumbled upon after writing to CNN and NBC on this issue.I rarely write to news services but in this occasion I did so as i felt these 2 American news services had really over-stepped the line of what is news and what is simply being a WILLING messenger to glorify and justify violence..it must have been a slow news day for them I quess ..I appreciate your agency seems to have put thought and consideration into this matter ..good for you ..Louise from Toronto ,Canada

  • 44.
  • At 03:10 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Bill Pilgrim wrote:

You did it because acquiring the images was affordable and people love to watch images of violence, ergo enhanced ad revenues.

Doing so "tastefully" merely complies with
BBC policy, which is designed to enhance
your image; another valuable commodity.

Anything else said on the reason "why"
is disingenuous rubbish.

  • 45.
  • At 03:10 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • ahaynes wrote:

I would fully support the BBC and any broadcaster in showing this video.
Yes the content may be disturbing, but we are adults and other adults do not need to attempt to act as our guardians and 'protect' us from things which are unpleasant
Only by seeing such material can we hope, as a society, to begin to understand that which may seem incomprehensible - why a student would turn killer in this way.
Obviously such material should not be shown before a watershed and suitable warning should be given before broadcasting
If this is a trend towards showing more 'real' news rather than the sanitised version deemed 'suitable' it is to be strongly applauded

  • 46.
  • At 03:17 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Anita wrote:

I would like to compliment you on the way you handled the VT gunman incident. I am from the US, and was very appalled by how NBC handled the materials they received. I applaud a news source that thinks before they act. Thank you.

People have a right to see the video and know the truth. It Comes down to freedom of speech. Every news network should be covering the IRAQ war more, but corruption and censorship blocks it.

welcome to the new world order. Big business wins, democracy dies.

  • 48.
  • At 03:24 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Jim Venner wrote:

I cannot help but feel that by airing even edited sections of the video the media has in some way provided an outlet he was hoping for.

And I ask myself if it was a necessary aid in the reporting of this event.
Seems more like vultures picking bones.

Sure there are many cases when video helps bring home the levity of an event.
But in this case I can only image the macabre throng of the YouTube junkies, biding their time till the next middle eastern hostage execution (murder), would find any real desire for this.

Is the YouTube phenomenon so great that main stream media feels the need to compete ?

There are many families grieving over this tragic event. But let's not forget that his family is one of them.

  • 49.
  • At 03:25 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Dougie Crichton wrote:

I am an expat living in SE Asia and I rely heavily on BBC news. I find your reasoning weak. UK based BBC editing is either reactive or has tabloid mentality. You've grabbed the footage, used it but are stepping down to fixed photos. In hindsight, wouldn't you say your behaviour is short term? I remember, fairly recently, the BBC trying to justify interviewing a prime suspect in the Ipswich prostitute murders. It was a PR disaster for the BBC. Why don't you ease off, calm down and be consistent?

  • 50.
  • At 03:29 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Stewart Churchill wrote:


I believe it is disgusting that the BBC has chosen to show this video.

As a Canadian reader, I often to turn to the BBC for an unbias and informative view of world events.
I appeciate what you have to say, but I don't think anyone needs to see this killer's ramblings. I think written quotations are more than enough.

Not only are these video's unpleasant, as a school counsellor I am aware of the possibility - however remote - of 'copy cat' killings.
I personally fear that airing these videos, either on the web or TV, might in some way encourage this kind of action.
Certainly, there is no need - outside of a disgusting grab for ratings (controversy = attention = more viewers) to subject the public to this kind of diatribe.


  • 51.
  • At 03:36 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • jan wrote:

I'm very against the sensationalism that the media has drummed up around this and other school shootings. There is no doubt in my mind that it contributes to the phenomenon, which was unheard of when I was growing up in the 60s and 70s. The airing of the video epitomises this sensationalism.

Here in the U.S., the commercialism in the TV news media has really taken over, since the advent of cable and CNN. I think it is a big factor in pushing sociopathic personalities into copycat with this sick, attention seeking violence. The news media needs to be more responsible, which I don't see happening anytime soon, as long as there are dollars to be made from exploiting these events.

Great piece; you should be a Monday morning quarterback!

  • 53.
  • At 03:49 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Sean wrote:

Why censor it? It's a bunch of clips of a lunatic about to go on a murder spree. It's not going to do any good concealing the details.

"the video may lead others to copy or emulate him"

Why did the BBC show the hamster crashing a jet car if you know it'll lead to others copying or emulating him. This kind of censorious nanny attitude is why TV viewers are switching off. John Cravens Newsround is where such attitudes belong.

  • 54.
  • At 03:51 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Tom Jeffreys-Jones wrote:

Well said.

  • 55.
  • At 03:56 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • robert leeuwendal wrote:

Peter,

My comment is not about the BBC's decision, which appears to be influenced that the video was already aired anyway by NBC. My comment is about the fact that I hope you do remember the relationship between the terrorists in the middle east and the beheading of their captives on video that would be aired on the channels - and the attraction of doing it again. Enough has been written and researched whether that was right or wrong - the latter of course!. Making the same misstake over and over again is a definition of insanity - no matter what NBC does (they probably have no Lessons Learned).

  • 56.
  • At 03:59 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Nick Daniel wrote:

The publication of these tapes reminds us of the fine balance that news organisations must achieve between social responsibility and their commitment to reporting the truth. In cases like this, these two aims are in direct conflict. The publication of these tapes is not a socially responsible action. It is painful for the relatives of victims, and must also be devastating for the parents and family of the killer. I believe that the human right to information must always be tempered with our responsibility to protect those innocent parties who may become emotionally or physically damaged by its publication.

This begs the question - what is the purpose of news? Is it to present us with raw reality, or is it to present us with an informed interpretation of reality by reporters who have gathered all the available facts? In this case, we are being presented with raw reality (the killer's tapes) which cannot, yet, be interpreted, because neither the viewers nor the reporters have all the facts. Merely editing the tapes does not bring us any closer to an interpretation - it simply imposes on the viewers an editorial judgment about what is relevant or important. Therefore any news organisation which publishes the tapes, in any form, can only be doing this for one reason: to create interest or even sensation, and to keep ratings high. What does this have to do with reporting the truth? Without interpretation (which requires facts), raw reality has no meaning. It is more likely to mislead us to wrong interpretations, instead of guiding us towards the truth.

  • 57.
  • At 04:01 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Jomkwan Khositanond wrote:

Dear Mr.Peter Horrocks,
I do agree. I must tell that I admire and respect on this your article.

I think the BBC decision to broadcast the video prepared by Cho Seung-hui was wrong. The man was mentally unbalanced, yet the BBC provided a platform for his self-justification for multiple murder. The excuse that "everybody else was doing it" is merely an attempt to side-step the issue of whether it was right to broadcast or not - it is the same excuse used by 13 years olds who have been caught smoking or nicking stuff from Woolworths.

  • 59.
  • At 04:19 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Abigail wrote:

Thank you. As an American I must express respect for that "British Way" of communicating with respect and dignity. These graphic images have been ingrained in our brains to the point of imbalance. Thank you for restoring restraint. It's a quality the American News junkets would do well to emulate.

  • 60.
  • At 04:29 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Berlin wrote:

what a self-righteous post! lol

  • 61.
  • At 04:36 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Mike M wrote:

I think it is very important for people to see and hear what this boy was going through at the time. Too much of the pain of these people are hidden away from the public, and the News only covers the "victims". I believe it is just as important for all of us to see and understand that there were devils in Cho's life. And I do not refer to just the ones in his head. We all need to understand that our own acts of hurt and evil help create these broken boys.

  • 62.
  • At 04:43 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Chuck wrote:

Well at least I'll appreciate that. Thanks

  • 63.
  • At 04:45 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Kerianne wrote:

I don't think usage of the footage or the diatribe was excessive or out of line. We were all terrified at what would cause such a violent incident. This was a wake-up call to university administrators and parents alike. You cannot ignore problems with our youth. He ramblings made no sense but we could have avoided the bloodshed by following up on the early signs of his imbalance. My heart goes out to the parents off all the students lost. Thank you BBC. Kerianne - California, U.S.

  • 64.
  • At 04:49 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • S. Green wrote:

Thank you for burying the face of the evil by less airtime. But what about showing George Bush's dodging off of the issue of Gun Ownership, which he considers as the fundamental human rights, far above in the ladder of other rights such as rights to breath fresh air and live peacefully?

  • 65.
  • At 04:54 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Ben wrote:

Dear BBC,

Please, do not fall into the double standards the American media and public are trying to exhibit exhibit. Do you take into consideration the views of family members of the Iraqis, Afghans, Ugandans or Somalis whose severed parts are beamed all over the airwaves at breakfast, Lunch and dinner? Come on, lets grow up shall we!

  • 66.
  • At 04:54 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Jodie McNamara wrote:

Regarding whether or not the video submitted by the gunman in Virginia should have been aired; His "manifesto" and self-portraits, sent directly to NBC, was essentially a press release. To give him exactly what he wanted for doing what he did is a little like giving someone a bag of money as punishment for robbing a convenience store. The media has demonstrated itself ready to oblige any person crazy enough to kill for time in the spotlight. With such clearly rewarding cause and effect (indeed, in pursuit of media attention over school shootings, the higher the body count the greater the reward) that someone will be next to take up the challenge is (as has been demonstrated historically)inevitable.

Of course it shouldn't have been aired.

  • 67.
  • At 05:01 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Andrew Norris wrote:

You say this, yet how can you explain that the BBC published the Tom Stephens interview - when the police were clearly not pleased and did not want it published.

"If the BBC had received such a video we would have spoken to the police first to get their assessment of any ... safety issues"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2006/12/tom_stephens_interview_ii.html

At the time of the Stephens interview - your own above blog shows that you did not accept you had done the slightest thing wrong and defended your actions all the way.

This was despite a massive protest of comments all agreeing how wrong you were (just click on the link above to read them). But you did nothing. Only defend it with one even more out of touch blog that attracted the same number of comments. This was an incident in our country, may I point out.

"I have been asked whether the BBC would have transmitted a similar video if it had emerged after, say, a similar mass killing at a British university."

In the Stephens case you even went so far as to publish it despite the interview being agreed to be off camera by Stephens before he gave it. We can only assume you did this to get a story - as the police certainly did not want it published.

The problem is we can only go on how you acted in the past. Actions speak louder than words. You never in any way admitted a mistake in the Tom Stephens case proving these blogs are pointless to many of us, whose comments were not heard. I think this is highly relevant to this case. Both concern a potential killer of a recent crime being aired, and with the police not being pleased about either of them. If you did not think you made a mistake then - how can we be so sure you will handle it the same if temptation comes your way? Sometimes you can win more trust by admitting a mistake...


  • 68.
  • At 05:02 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Mark Allen wrote:

All of this hand-wringing and talk of ethics in reporting is just so much horse manure.

You will print or show whatever it takes to improve your circulation (and then look all pious and apologise afterwards).

  • 69.
  • At 05:16 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • caroline wrote:

We are living in a global media culture. If audiences are happy to be wrapped up in cotton wool then they can choose the company that will best do that for them. I went straight to UBC to get the full story.

I am not keen on seeing material dumbed down, or censored. One can only hope, Peter Horrocks, that if you were put in this position, you would allow other broadcasting channels access to the material, so that they too can make decisions over what their audiences want.

Caroline is an avid spectator of TV News

  • 70.
  • At 05:18 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Kevin Sullivan wrote:

The British Media is obsessed with the USA. Give this story a rest. It is a terrible tragedy but terrible tragedies happen all over the world; even in the EU! If it happened in a British university the BBC would have fought tooth and nail to air as much of the video as soon as possible and you would be right to do so.

  • 71.
  • At 05:20 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • George Fisher wrote:

I think it is important to show the video of Cho Seung-hui because it shows the kind of character that could orchestrate such a horrible massacre. It is educational for the public to see it.

  • 72.
  • At 05:22 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • colleen wrote:

The authorities in the US did not want the video shown partially because that now presents the issue of how someone so clearly derranged was not stopped from being on a college campus. There were warnings about this killer and they were not followed up sufficiently. Now the authorities can absolve themselves of any responsibility in protecting students with comments like this one:
"They can't really kick someone out because they're writing papers about weird topics, even if they seem withdrawn and hostile."
DR. RICHARD KADISON, chief of mental health services at Harvard University, on a college's limitations in dealing with a disturbed student.

Its now clear this was a person who was more severely disturbed than "writing papers about weird topics."

  • 73.
  • At 05:32 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Bryan Short wrote:

I understand that seeing this video may be disturbing to some, but I believe news networks rightly showed it. I think you just have to be reasonable. Maybe put out a warning before you transmit the video so that people who don't want to see it can change the channel.

  • 74.
  • At 05:51 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Vidar Lund wrote:

I don't blame BBC, the blame should be with NBC they started it and had the power to say NO, even if that meant refusing the multi million dollar package they received in the mail. Had they not published the material it would have shown integrity but money obviously matters more.

Publishing the pictures and the video is the best they could do to recruit future "martyrs", congratulations NBC!

  • 75.
  • At 06:00 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • James wrote:

I think that the airing of that murderer's video clips and message gave him a stage he would never have got in life.

Airing it as many in the long-standing media did when the families are grieving the loss of their loved ones was crude.

Should the video have been aired? Yes, but not yet. NBC in the U.S. slapped their logo on each image, and on the video, and in the hours after airing the first clips, kept releasing yet more clips.

In North America, some of the tabloid entertainment shows by the following evening had made decisions not to air images of the murderer.

Why would you give such a deranged killer a stage and your audience?

What would you say if your actions airing his hate messages lead to copycat murders?

James

  • 76.
  • At 06:07 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Su Melton wrote:

The key phrase here is: "However, given that the video is already widely available, we had to judge whether withholding the video from BBC audiences was the appropriate thing to do. We decided that playing short clips, responsibly contextualised, could aid understanding of the story." This does not bear up at all. The widespread availability is not even a relevant criteria for your own judgment - execution videos? And needing to see the videos to understand the context is rather a poor reflection on the written word journalism you could use. The indisputable fact is that a public airing is what the gunman wanted - and what you with your worldwide distribution has given him .. as this was a component part of his plan, you have effectively assisted him. Bad call.

  • 77.
  • At 06:08 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Peter Adams wrote:

I think that it is morally irresponsible for an major news outlet whether it be BBC in the UK or CNN/NBC/FOX in the states to give the type madman the coverage that you have given.

  • 78.
  • At 06:28 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Graeme wrote:

That so many people were killed is of importance, I guess some would say "of interest" and I do understand that their sad endings are reported. However the mad rantings of a sociopath are far from relevant. They should of course not be shown in any format, and that the audience may want to see them is far from a convincing argument. Perhaps someone should take a look at the stats from the US and Canada on gun ownership and ratio of deaths per gun owned. The one obvious difference between the two countries is that Canada rarely highlights (glorifies) gun-men in its news programs, unlike the US that has any gun related incidence as a headline article. If such dramatic differences can be seen based on a responsible media, do you as the media not owe us as a society the same respect?

It seems to me that the editorial policy is a bit too timid. There is a very proper public interest in what drives people to do this sort of thing. The videos show the murderer as very disturbed, and also aware that he is about to die himself. I should have thought that it was more likely to deter copycats than encourage them. The regular coverage, with his normal-looking face shown everywhere, seems far more likely to encourage copycats, because it portrays him as a normal (and live) person.

It seems to me to be quite wrong that you have now suppressed these videos.

  • 80.
  • At 06:48 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

The real reason for the almost "blanket" coverage of this sad event must be the sheer volume of material available to the BBC from American news organisations. On a day when over 150 people were killed in bombings in Iraq the BBC chose to major on this story as it has a surfeit of material from the US available.

This must strengthen the impression outside the West that the UK is irrevocably tied to the US. Mass murder in Iraq, political crisis in Zimbabwe, persecution of Christians in the Far East. But we concentrate on the American College shootings.

  • 81.
  • At 06:57 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • kman australia wrote:

Why did the BBC show it?
That's easy - the BBC will aways show anything and everything it can if it will make the USA look bad.
Hell some of your presenters have already admitted that it is BBC policy.

  • 82.
  • At 07:03 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Graham Morgan wrote:

The video should never have been shown; it was reckless, irresponsible and tantamount to complicity in encouraging the next school shooting. The murderer wanted his moment of fame and notoriety and you gave it to him. The BBC should be ashamed.

  • 83.
  • At 07:08 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Shane wrote:

Any of us who looked at the BBC news on the internet yesterday, had the horrible surprise and shock of seeing the Virigina shooter pointing his guns at us. That is perhaps the last image seen by those he killed. I think if the media wanted to show this image, they should not have put it on the front page where it takes us by surprise, just as the shooter intended when he took his photographs. Even today, where the various news channels defend their decision to show the photos by claiming they have an "educational" purpose, the shooter still points his gun at us from the front page. I cannot see the education value in this; I can indeed see the shock value.

  • 84.
  • At 07:08 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Ben wrote:

This is where bias enters news organizations. When it is decided how, if and when and to whom the news item or news material should be shown. The "feelings" of various officials and population are taken into account. A ridiculous concept.

I'm not impressed.

  • 85.
  • At 07:17 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • James Allan wrote:

On balance, I think you made the right call on that one. When I saw the snippets that you decided to host I'll admit my blood went cold and I don't think I would have wanted to have seen much more even if it was available. I can't imagine what any friends or relatives of the victims must be feeling.

If I had been NBC, I probably would have wanted wait at least a few days until people had cooled down a little bit before showing the videos. But now that the videos are in the wild, any determined person with an internet connection can see them, so the public protection argument goes out of the window.

What really concerns me however is the thought that there is someone out there right now, at this moment taking pictures of themselves posing with weapons, hoping to one day get the same level of posthumous exposure as they've just witnessed.

  • 86.
  • At 07:21 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • John Larsson wrote:

It is enough for most people to hear from experts summarising the videos what was the possible psychological reasons for his behaviour, but showing the videos themselves was pure sensationalism - however "clever" you put your arguments for showing them. Those eager to drool over all the macabre details would surely have found the videos on the internet somehow, but the fact that BBC, a traditionally honorable institution, decides to air them, is pure greed for viewers. And you know it. Imagine if BBC had agreed with all other major British media outlets not to show them. But competition is the name of the game. How sad.

  • 87.
  • At 07:22 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

By showing the video, the BBC and NBC have effectively acted as collaborators in the crime itself. The mind of the killer anticipated the broadcast, prepared for the broadcast and provided the material. Against the better judgement of the local police, the BBC followed through in broadcasting the material. Now you defend this with the reasoning that if NBC did it, we also have to do it - "but we weren't the first". The BBC effectively helped the killer to complete the wider part of his crime. The BBC will continue to remind us of this idiot in years to come and he will have achieved his place in history, just what he wanted. So, with your help, even though he is dead, he gets just what he wanted.

This is what the BBC and like do all the time. You don't report facts any more (if you ever really did), you make "stories" and we are referred to as the "audience". Unfortunately, most of the time you help to spread the terror perpetrated by crazy people, with the reason that we, the audience, must be informed.

The most respectful and humane action, as far as the victims and their families are concerned, would have been not to show the video - this is obvious.

What NBC should have done was to hand the "evidence" to the police, lock stock and barrel, and agreed never to show it in public. By showing it in public you effectively made us all accessories to the crime. You elevate the status of the killer and diminish the plight of the victims.

Another suicide killer just got his 15 minutes of fame and the BBC helped him on his way....

Appauled by your lack of moral responsibility - as usual.

  • 88.
  • At 07:32 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • john wrote:

I wish there was as much of a conversation about gun control here in the USA as there is discussion about broadcasting this murderous video. No one does anything about gun control here in the United States.

  • 89.
  • At 07:42 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • L. Nielson, SLC, UT wrote:

Unfortunately the respective dragnets of both the American legal and mental health systems have far too many holes to prevent this type of tragedy. Anyone following the story is probably dumbstruck as to why Cho was able to purchase firearms after being referred by a judge for psychiatric treatment.

Seeing the video content makes this dichotomy all the more poignant and perplexing. However, it is precisely the information the public needs to take constructive action with their legislators in order to have these laws changed.

Accurately reporting the whole uncensored story is the duty of the free press. It is the only way the people can stay informed.

  • 90.
  • At 07:47 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Gerry S wrote:

Those are probably wise precautions to take. I don't think any rational person could fault or blame you there.

Sometimes in this information age there is such a thing as too much data about something like this. In history, through all of human suffering, we have had next to no insight into the mechanics or the justifications behind acts like this.

With the easy electronic dissemination of information, we give everyone a platform to almost be part of these events. Therein lies the problem.

It is the most natural of human instincts to attempt to rationalise and empathise with any arbitrary actions we encounter. Giving easy access to videos like this means that, millions of times over, people will be processing this information in their minds. In effect it brings us all closer to the reasoning of what we call a madman.

Surely, it would have been more sensitive to publish the 20 pages written by Cho (which must surely carried more information about his motivations) instead of the pointless and diturbing pictures...

Who are the media kidding? We all know jornos/media create/reshape stories.... this false idea of them being desiminators of information/news, is far gone, maybe back in the early 20th century, but these days, its just used to entertain, and people who say otherwise are just kidding themselves... also in my opinion the media are the last people in the world i would want as moral compasses, as they have very little, and yet most viewers will watch the media, with their carefully chosen words to use the most effect, like the use of extreme words such as evil and so forth, to shape a story, and thus create a moral attitude to those who listen/read the media.

  • 93.
  • At 07:57 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Mike Pritchard wrote:

NBC and therefore no-one else should have broadcast this. The media have yet again been manipulated by mad men and have done untold damage to the wider world. The oxygen of publicity must not be given to terrorists, murderers and kidnappers. If anything happens to Alan Johnston, will you show it? I hope not. Stop it now and take your responsibilities seriously.

  • 94.
  • At 07:57 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Colin Soames wrote:

Apology accepted.

  • 95.
  • At 08:16 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

Peter,

You say that you would have checked with the UK police before showing such a video here.

Did you do the same with the US police? I assume not as they did not want it shown.

  • 96.
  • At 08:21 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Jennifer wrote:

Playing ANY of that video so soon after showed absolutely no respect for the families, whether it was shown on another channel before hand or not and whether it was a couple of times or over and over. Be ashamed.

  • 97.
  • At 08:23 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Brian Wilson wrote:

The total amount of time spent by the media on this topic has been totally out of proportion to the relevenece to Britain. Yes the British public should be informed about such events, but there are many more important items of news in Britain and Europe that in my opinion demanded equal if not more time than the Virginia shooting. It was perhaps poignant that the event happened on a day when a Coroner criticised the Americans over their lack of cooperation. The Americans are not interested in Britain, why should we be so obsessed with American events.

I have to say it's something I disagree with totally. The 'news' in this case, is that a disturbed man has shot 30 people. You don't show the shootings of the 30 people if you have the video I hope, neither is there a need to show the video he sent to police, the 'news' is he sent it, it's proof of his condition. Showing it to people does not inform them to any greater degree of the news. It rather becomes a voyueristic chain to keep viewers watching. Let's get back to old fashioned 'news' please rather than this sort of shallow 'spectacle audience generation'.

  • 99.
  • At 08:27 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Dave Woolf wrote:

I think that showing the video contituted a willful lack of consideration for the victims, their friends, and their families. It was the kind of action one would expect of a sensationalist headline-grabbing tabloid where such pandering to the lowest common denominator can only be expected, but not of the BBC.

These videos were created by a sick mind with the intention of getting publicity - playing them only gives him his last wish, and does not serve the public good. I thought you would have been above such a base and transparent attempt to grab ratings.

  • 100.
  • At 08:36 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Feefers wrote:

Peter Horrocks is a very smart man, and rightly so head of TV News he should be.
I have been very impressed with the way this material has been presented in segments on the news.

  • 101.
  • At 08:36 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Lisa Kobayashi wrote:

I agree with your idea about such issues. In my idea, we should be more careful about dealing with this kind of vicious statement. The thing that these kinds of videos are repeatedly released on TV or Internet will give bad influences to the world. I don't want to listen to his lunatic idea at all. A lot of innocent people were killed. It was very, very shocking.
I want to say again, "Don't show me the video, please. That's enough."

  • 102.
  • At 08:41 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • chris wrote:

So after six paragraphs of defending the BBC, saying that showing the video helped us learn about why such things happen and how it aided our understanding of the story, you then say that now a 24 hour period has elapsed it wont be shown anymore. Huh?! So there's nothing more to learn now that a day has passed?

I think the real giveaway is when you you said that a factor in the BBC's decison was that the video was already widely available. It's clear from this that the BBC knew they would lose ratings if they didnt show the video.

I think the most distasteful thing about the video is the NBC logo (advertisement) in the top corner.

  • 103.
  • At 08:44 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Noel Rowland wrote:

No amount of smooth intellectualised posturing will change the fact that you shouldn't have shown any of this guy's video. No purpose whatsoever is served by it.

  • 104.
  • At 08:46 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • anon wrote:

I just wanted to say that I have no problem with what was shown. Peopl have a choice to watch it, if they are that bothered then don't watch it. There are others who are interested and some that may feel it is neccessary for understanding and closure. People are too quick to critisise these days and don't praise when a good job is done.!

  • 105.
  • At 08:47 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

You don't have to follow what everyone else does! I watch/read BBC news because I expect certain standards such as fair reporting, factual news, etc and this includes not wanting to see such videos. If I did want to see such a video I could go looking for it elsewhere!

  • 106.
  • At 08:49 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • James wrote:

Normally I would just be saying "what's all the fuss about" over an issue such as whether the BBC (or anybody else) should have shown the video but unusually in this case I was disgusted that it was shown.

I saw it on a large screen at work and had to move away from the area to avoid seeing any more.

  • 107.
  • At 08:49 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Tim wrote:

I thought Jeremy Paxman's quizzing of the American broadcaster who orginally put out the video was insufferable - he was assuming the ethical high ground, by implication criticising the Americans for having used the material, immediately after his own programme had put out great chunks of it. Yes this footage had news value and a certain voyeuristic fascination, which is why it was interesting to see it. But, if Jeremy was so concerned, his own programme might have shown more restraint (I guess it was Newsnight - I turned it on half way through).

Tim

  • 108.
  • At 08:49 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Bryan Coxall wrote:

A mass murderer sends in video material he clearly wants aired. That alone should be reason enough for any responsible broadcaster not to air any of it. Any of it. Does anyone really need to see this material to understand that the guy was disturbed in the extreme? NBC should simply have handed it to the police and certainly not made it available to you and the rest of the worldwide media. But then we're in an era of what you might call "terror porn", aren't we, when the media is continually complicit in giving publicity to those who slaughter for their own twisted reasons.

  • 109.
  • At 08:52 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Giles Jones wrote:

Playing the video and showing the pictures is exactly what the he wanted the media to do. So why would the media be so irresponsible?

Unfortunately you run the risk of sympathisers doing similar acts when you show the thoughts behind the crime to everyone. Other people may connect with their situation and thoughts.

  • 110.
  • At 08:54 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Publicity is the oxygen of terrorism.
I feel that showing this video and pictures is, in a small way, probably going to encourage the next lunatic rather than discourage them.

  • 111.
  • At 08:59 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • anita mason wrote:

NBC was correct. Obviously the killer was psychotic. Normal people cannot understand such a person, but the need to understand is there. Seeing the material has not added to my knowledge, but I had to see it.

  • 112.
  • At 09:01 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Adrian Shiel wrote:

In this day and age I can't imagine any news network deciding that something is 'inappropriate'. From gutter journalism through the best in broadcasting the ego wins through everytime. If its not for the pure thrill of showing such sick things its for the ego of being famous for showing the sick thing.

If journalism learnt that thinking we have a right to know everything about everyone in every place is different to needing to show it or report it then the world would probably return to a nice little simmer box of localised hatred and war that has been the history of mankind.

  • 113.
  • At 09:02 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Luke wrote:

... which shows again in which imaginary world you guys live. No surprise, BBC is so big, its a world itself

  • 114.
  • At 09:05 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Laura Macleod wrote:

I can't understand the problem with showing this video -we have all kinds of horrific movies and games on violence and this shooter was obviously affected by the violent movies he had been watching. It is clearly a deep message out there to the entertainment industry. Young people are affected by violence in film and media; however with all the horrors of wars and a sick society that condemns wars yet allows movies to be made with graphic violence we have double standards. No wonder mental illness is in young people who are confused by life. This is a wake up call (yet again).

  • 115.
  • At 09:06 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Angela wrote:

Showing the video clips was dreadful from all aspects. Why has all been said and thought by all intelligent people but I think all media outlets should state clearly that in future absolutely no coverage will be given to perpetrators other than their name perhaps. So no notoriety and worldwide front page coverage of their evil drivellings even if fuelled by mental health problems. Full coverage might be given to the lives and hopes of victims..but not to the murderers.. trying to prevent these crimes is futile..saying 'so it never happens again' is naive. So far a clear message to the next nutter is that fame is there for them...why not produce a feature length film of your pyschosis cos the BBC et al will air it. Shame on you BBC

  • 116.
  • At 09:07 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • David wrote:

I agree with Chris's comment - previous to this. It seems to have been fine to show the video, for the reasons explained, but now BBC is not going to show it any more. I would very much welcome another 6 paragraphs explaining why not. Is it, again, to please the audience that is now upset? What are the real convictions of the BBC? Come on, you are my web home page!

  • 117.
  • At 09:09 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Luuk Houwen wrote:

Sorry but your arguments in favour of broadcasting some of Seung-hui's video material fails to convince. All it shows is a deranged mind and one does not need his videos in evidence of that after the killing spree at Virginia Tech. You have done him a service though. You presumably did exactly what he wanted newsorganisations to do: by broadcasting it you have added to his notoriety and perhaps most worrying of all, invited copy-cat behaviour. Why couldn't you have summarised/interpreted the conmtents of the videos, without showing them?
PS. I found Newsnight's interview with the NBC director extremely distateful. Jeremy Paxman asking "tough" questions about NBC's decision to broadcast just did not ring true since Newsnight had just done the same. Now that is real hypocrisy for you!

  • 118.
  • At 09:13 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Doug wrote:

There was nothing to be gained by showing this video and I quickly stopped watching the 10 o'clock news last night when this was aired. The man had killed 32 people, we had already seen what he was like. We knew the "killer's state of mind" by what he had done, we did not learn more about it from his self-justifying, deranged rant. Will the families of those killed all be allowed to make similar videos and have them aired on prime time TV?

As you say, this was already in the public domain. Those that wanted to see it could presumably find it easily on the internet.

I only hope that no money was paid to NBC for rights to air this.

  • 119.
  • At 09:14 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Gareth Davies wrote:

The BBC showing the video had nothing to do with the news, it all had to do with ratings figures. The BBC competes mainly with Sky in the UK, and other news organisations worlwide.

It's unfortunate that all the channels decided to show these images, it's glorified the killer while the victims remain mostly unknown.

Those victims had families, maybe some in the UK. How do they feel seeing him on the news all day?

  • 120.
  • At 09:17 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Tim J wrote:

You give a fair justification for the BBC's airing of portions of Cho Seung-hui's video, but I'm less than convinced by your argument that if the BBC had been the first to receive such a video then you would probably have broadcast it. I don't see any obvious justification for this.

To me this all has echoes of the earlier debate over whether showing clips from the videos of the beheading of hostages Iraq should have been aired, even if those clips ended moments before the actual act of violence. At the time the broadcasters justified this as being "newsworthy", but the videos were created by the killers with the sole intent of making the news, so the broadcasters who showed them were merely playing along with the game plan of these extremists.

I can't help but feel that there will be other disturbed people out there who, having seen the attention the Virginia Tech killer gained after death as a result of the broadcast of his video, will be encouraged to carry out a similar atrocity in the hope that they too can have their twisted thoughts broadcast after death.

I say to broadcasters - don't fan the flames. Of course, any such argument will inevitably fall on deaf ears in the heat of the moment as editors just won't be able to help themselves from broadcasting this "sensational" material.

  • 121.
  • At 09:24 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Steve L. wrote:

So if everyone else shows it, it must be alright for you to forget any original moral stance you had on the subject and to show it yourselves.

  • 122.
  • At 09:34 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Richard wrote:

I disagree that consideration was given to the time of day - My 7 year old was watching the BBC News at around 7:30am (he wanted to see the goals from the football the previous night) and the graphic nature of the Cho images both grabbed his attention scared him, particularly with it being a 'school' incident. I flipped the channel as soon as I picked up on what was happening, but the "damage" had been done, so thanks alot BBC.

  • 123.
  • At 09:39 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Niall wrote:

I would just like to add my voice to those who have condemned your use of the images. This decision was nothing to do with freedom of the press or "learning". It was a deplorable editorial decision based on commerce. You are complicit in the gunman's crime and should be ashamed. It is even more horrifing to see that you feel no such shame.

  • 124.
  • At 09:40 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

Last night on News 24 you showed the videos and later in the bulletin your reporter on the Virginia Tech campus said that the US networks had already decided to pull the videos -surely the BBC should have known that and followed suit.

Bad call, BBC.

  • 125.
  • At 09:47 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Jon Prosser wrote:

The BBC should not have showed the video since in my view it's not in the public interest. It was a copy- cat in two senses: the BBC could be guilty of providing unbalanced young people in the UK with material that encourages them to commit a similar act - I'm sure you are aware of this risk but chose to ignore it; the BBC appear to be copying NBC in providing Cho Seung-hui with the notoriety he sought. The usual sort of rational was trotted out viz 'sought opinions', ‘editorial control’, 'already available', 'let the viewers' judge' as expected but the comment about showing the video to aid understanding was significantly flawed. Put your hand on your heart and tell me the decision to run the video was not about ratings and potential revenue gained.

  • 126.
  • At 09:53 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Ricky Wilkes wrote:

What a load of nonsense. NBC (and the BBC) showed this footage for one simple reason - people want to watch it. Whether you agree or disagree with the moral aspect of it, morbid fascination is exactly what it says it is - a fascination, it's real and it sells. We all watched it, or we wouldn't be commenting on it now. I, for one, found it very interesting. Anyone who doesn't quite appreciate or realise the corporate world we live in had better wake up and smell the coffee. I don't like it, but its reality. This type of thing will continue and get a lot, lot worse in the future.

  • 127.
  • At 09:59 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • David J Stevenson wrote:


I am in total disgreement over the media's decision to show the video so soon after the horror on the Virginian Campus .. yes! it had to be shown but not so soon .. I feel the Beeb were totally out of order.

I have no problem with the video being shown. What does annoy me is that most journalists feel the need to wrap it up in judgemental adjectives and so-called expert analysis. I'd prefer to just see the whole video and be allowed to make up my own mind about it, rather than constantly being advised what to think.

  • 129.
  • At 10:09 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Richard Thomas wrote:

The BBC was absolutely right to show it. It was one of the most disturbing things I've seen on TV in quite a long time, and the perfect antidote to the breathless, sensationalist reporting of the rest of the story.
It does nothing to help us 'understand' why he did it - as if something like that could possibly be understood - but hopefully it goes some way towards teaching people that these things can't necessarily be rationalised or explained.
Hopefully it will also make Americans really sit up and take notice of the kind of people they're seemingly happy to allow to acquire firearms.

  • 130.
  • At 10:09 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Judi Drummond wrote:

Likewise, apology accepted.

  • 131.
  • At 10:10 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Nick wrote:

No, you still made a big mistake and it cannot be made to look rational with hindsight. The old chestnut of "it was available elsewhere" reveals desperation and insecurity, and is a lame excuse. If I were to take someone else's car, would it be a defence to say "Well, it probably would have got stolen anyway" or "It was stolen already"? No. It doesn't change the fact that the act was wrong. It's moral laziness to think that doing the wrong thing is more acceptable if other people are also doing it.

  • 132.
  • At 10:14 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Simon Peter wrote:

NBC should have edited parts of this video before showing it or just play sound but not video.The pictures just encourage more killers to do more.Already they are screen savers on peoples desktops,next are their brains.I think next time a commission of broadcasters sensoring such material should be set up or consulted if there, to give a go ahead to broadcast such videos.

  • 133.
  • At 10:17 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Stephen wrote:

News reporters are possibly the most eloquent people in the world when it comes to promoting themselves as evangelists of the public good. There is no requirement for the general public to 'understand' this sort of act or violence. The only people that can hope to draw lessons from the video are qualified health professionals. Bearing that in mind its interesting that the BBC feels itself so free to sail this close to the Obscene publications act. Will we see the BBC now promoting all the happy slapper mobile phone videos or maybe snuff porn? After all by your own logic we should strive to understand it and its all out there anyway.

It is a very sad inditement that the BBC would appear to be a veneer or establishment on the usual rubbish of gutter journalism. Much like political parties the difference between press agencies has blurred and gone. Even sadder is that the BBC is supported by Uk Govn in the form of TV licencing in order to be able to maintain a ratings free quality service rather than tabloid sensationalism.

  • 134.
  • At 10:17 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Mike Richards wrote:

The BBC is trying to have its cake and eat it.

Last night's lead item on BBC News 24 was that American broadcasters had been heavily criticised for showing the video and that the Virginia police had not wanted the tape shown.

Followed immediately by the BBC running large chunks of the video.

  • 135.
  • At 10:25 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Kevin wrote:

I am not sure what to think. Broadcasting these videos so soon after the events seems incredibly insensitive, but would it have been any better had they aired a week later, or two weeks? By showing these clips, you are effectively helping this killer complete his plan, which again is a horrific thought for your consciences.

However, when I first read about the shootings my thoughts were "Oh yet another american school killing" and I thought little more of it. Yet once I saw the clips, I was almost in tears. It brought home to me just how premeditated, how callous and cold the events were and it changed my perspective on the whole incident. I was shocked beyond words.

Some will say of course that this shock value is precisely what you intended to create to sell the story and perhaps it was, sensationalism is everywhere after all. Yet it gave me a greater empathy for the victims. His displayed lack of humanity increased my own humanity.

Was it right to show these video's? I honestly don't know.

One thing I am sure of though, the use of the image showing him pointing the gun directly at the camera should be stopped immediately. It has no justification and truly is pure sensationalism. This will be the lasting image many of the survivors will have of that day and to see it again in papers and on television is hurtful and unnecessary under any circumstances.

  • 136.
  • At 10:30 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Lindsay wrote:

Had the video not been shown, there would be people complaining about how the news was being censored and the full facts being withheld from the public domain.

Rock and a hard place methinks.

  • 137.
  • At 10:35 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Iain Worlock wrote:

Isn't this what Oliver Stone satirises in Natural Born Killers - the irresponsible mass media glorification of psychopathic killers? Life sure does imitate art...

  • 138.
  • At 10:39 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • John Sherborne wrote:

I was a bit stunned at the reaction of the US police chief who criticised NBC for showing the footage, on the grounds that people should not see such things. It seemed a very warped perspective of a police officers role, to hide away the reality, however sad or unpleasant, of what had happened.
The world is full of a great deal more nasty happenings, its only by the majority facing up to what is going on that we will be motivated to do anything. Hiding away unpleasant news is not helpful. Well done BBC for facing up to reality.

  • 139.
  • At 10:41 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

To slightly misquote quote Clive James several years ago, you had a red-hot stretch of tape which you just had to get onto the air somehow.

  • 140.
  • At 10:44 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Alan Smithee wrote:

This whole incident is about a lonely young man who had trouble communicating with other people. His poor communication skills are evident from his writings and recordings, he had (reportedly) few friends to turn to, and withdrew himself from his peers at college. Rather than conversing with society like the rest of us, he could only express himself be angrily shouting his message at us.

I'm of the opinion that his shooting spree was, essentially, just a media stunt to draw attention to his so-called "manifesto". The amount of screenplay he's receiving - particularly on some US channels, from what I hear - is exactly the kind of widespread attention that he killed those 32 people for. Discussing the content of the footage is one thing but I feel that by directly screening it, the media (and NBC hold a particular responsibility here) have played into his hands and affirmed his actions.

I find footage of the videos to be far more disturbing than the news of the shooting. The cost to human life here pales in comparison to daily events in Iraq, but these murders were not inspired by politics, economics or religion... they were just a twisted cry for help from a socially inept, self-pitying young man who fancies himself as an iconic revolutionary. It's indicative of the culture of egotism that has gripped the the west - the "LOOK AT ME!" mindset of eccentric Pop Idol rejects and all those self-centred teenagers whining about their lives on their video blogs, all in search of fame and recognition.

I suspect, years from now, the killer will be remembered more for his media savvy than his body count. The way he referenced previous school shooting sprees reminds me of backtrack links, video responses and other "Web 2.0" concepts... as if to say "If you liked my massacre, you'll LOVE Columbine!" He's a young man who considers the media in modern terms, and I feel the traditional news editors have failed to recognise this and aided his cause in the process.

I'd also like to note that the media's blind condemnation of the killer seems to be just the kind of attitude that turned him into a self-pitying pariah in the first place. Killing 32 innocent people is a deplorable act, but if people had made more of an effort to understand him - explore his simplistic views on morality, point out their holes and contradictions, and guide him towards a saner view of the world - perhaps this whole incident would never have happened. His actions - despicable as they were - are part of a complex social system in which we all live our lives, and we must always consider them in context.

  • 141.
  • At 11:03 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • John Slinger wrote:

Peter Horrocks' statement is sanctimonious and misleading. What he really means is that BBC News will broadcast such personal propaganda using the defence that it is already in the public domain and is of macabre interest to its audience. This is because BBC News is locked in a rather unedifying 'competition' with other news outlets, particularly rolling news channels and an editorial style which sensationalises coverage at every opportunity. Watching coverage of the massacre, one is reminded of Chris Morris's superlative and visionary satire on TV news - Brass Eye. It is mildly amusing seeing the BBC, an organisation which pioneered quality, in-depth reporting for the world - contorting itself while it grapples with the shallow and puerile nature of our times. Thank heavens for Radio 4.

It also strikes me as odd that the BBC would use the 'it's out there in the public domain so we had to publish' defence in this case, while obstinately refusing to do the same over the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. Some stories are obviously more equal than others. Which brings me back to Chris Morris, who is by all accounts working on a satire of Islamic extremists, terrorists claiming to be Muslims and the media / societal resonse to those issues. I can't wait.

  • 142.
  • At 11:07 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • MH wrote:

By showing this video, you join less prestigious news organizations in sending a clear message to other nutcases out there that they too can have global celebrity if they massacre people.

You know this deep down, but you pretend to yourselves that it is in the public interest because you no longer have the integrity that your predecessors possessed.

  • 143.
  • At 11:08 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Ralph wrote:

I find your justification for showing the video embarrassingly mealy-mouthed and self-serving. First you find a good reason to show it, then when you get serious flak you take it off and make half-baked excuses.

The truth is that you just can't stop yourselves can you? You are looking over your shoulders at Sky and all the other vampire media and you just have to have a piece of the action.

Want to stand in front of the victim's families and explain yourself? No, thought not.

  • 144.
  • At 11:18 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • David wrote:

The video is relevant to the news - and it's your job to relay the news accurately. Beyond a 'warning' for those that don't want to watch it there's nothing more you should do.

I'm glad you showed it.

  • 145.
  • At 11:28 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Leo wrote:

For me, blaming media attention for stoking the fires is a weak excuse for censorship.

People were, and still are, more than capable of horrendous cruelty regardless of what publicity they get. Often the attention paid can stimulate some positive outcomes to make sure we can stop, or more likely, reduce the likelyhood of this sort of thing happening in the future.

This was a brave decision, typical of the BBC, and personally - I applaud them for it.

  • 146.
  • At 11:51 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Cathy wrote:

I cannot see how any good can come from airing the video, be it in selected parts or the whole thing. The lack of sensitivity shown by the BBC in airing it astounded and appalled me, as it was clearly what the killer wanted. Why should he get his last wish? I cannot understand how showing it is at all justified.

BBC news used to stand out from other broadcasters as being far more sophisticated and objective. The need to stoop to increasingly sensationalist content is deeply saddening.

  • 147.
  • At 11:52 AM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Bedd Gelert wrote:

Interesting that some posters say you did this to increase 'ad revenue' which gives a good idea of how well they understand the issues here.

One also has to understand that this footage is filling the top twenty on 'YouTube' at the moment - does any one out there imagine that people would not get to see this footage, one way or another.

I think the BBC should show restraint - especially with the amount of coverage for Saddam's execution, which I don't think should have been filmed. But in a world of video camera phones, we are going to have to get used to a new paradigm here.

And we need to avoid the nonsensical arguments put forward by Gerald Kaufman in today's Telegraph that it is violent images, rather than lack of gun control, which is responsible for this incident.

  • 148.
  • At 12:10 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Neanie wrote:

All this shows is that the media is a very big pawn in peoples lives. Anything of any consequence that happens now always has some kind of video made. And anything of that nature will always "mistakenly" or even purposely find it's way into some form of medias hands. People such as this chap, knew exactly what to do when he wanted the world to know what he'd done. He posted it to NBC. People can moan and complain all they wish about this being shown, but we all know that ANYTHING like this will be shown because like I said at the beginning, people are able to manipulate what they want shown just by making it available. As long as there are viewers that will continue to watch, then the media will always provide. It makes me sad, that manipultion like this happens. More for families of victims of tragedies. But it's a fact of life and has been for quite some time. Sorry folks, but complaining here will have very little value in the long run.

  • 149.
  • At 12:16 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • david wrote:

Will the BBC show the video of the next killer who has been inspired by this video ?

  • 150.
  • At 12:41 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Pete wrote:

May I suggest some of the self righteous proselytizing individuals wake up and smell the Coffee. The BBC does not show anything to increase it's advertising Revenues. There aren't any. Look around the web site, spotted any Advertising?
If you see Advertising on your Cable Channel it is placed there by the Cable Operator NOT the BBC.

Should the Video have been shown? No, is my opinion but I would say the same about any Video made by any Criminal (or terrorist as we are now supposed to label them)

Maggie Thatcher was right by attempting to defeat terrorists by "denying them the oxygen of Publicity" unfortunately the US (and Canadian) Networks preached "Free Speech" and broadcast the utterings of the IRA.

  • 151.
  • At 01:03 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Fred Riley wrote:

I agree with the Beeb's decision to show the video - anything that can give an insight into the killer's mind is a plus, and it's better for people to see the video directly, rather than have it filtered through the subjective interpretations of pundits who have seen it, so that we can form our own opinions. The BBC should not be a censor, moral or otherwise, and when it tries to be, or is forced to be by law (as was the case when Thatcher forbad the broadcasting of the speech of Sinn Fein members to deprive them of the "oxygen of publicity"), it ends up looking stupid and losing public confidence in it as a professional news agency.

This is a similar issue to that of whether or not Al Jazeera should show jihadist videos, and on the whole the public has been better served by this than if it had been 'protected' by not showing them. Far better to see 'the face of evil' so as to understand and combat it, than to have it hidden from us.

  • 152.
  • At 01:06 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Sam wrote:

I think people are missing the point regarding what potential copycats would like to copy. They will imitate, and be "inspired" by, the killings themselves, not what rationale or self-promotion follows it. Indeed, events such as this have always been followed by a rash of (almost always unsuccessful) copycats regardless of whether the killer left behind any self-created legacy and I'm surprised nobody seems to have told the BBC this.

Coverage of the events has been consistent and constant across every news channel I've seen (gratuitously in my opinion, but that's another debate) but the video the killer left has proportionally been fairly small-time. While admittedly I haven't been paying full attention, a transcript of what the killer said in the video seems to be the only aspect of the events that I haven't actually heard.

The reason that the first 24 hours are different is simple. News ages badly, after 24 hours the world's attention will have moved on. The only reason the BBC will exercise caution after that point is because any loss to them from lower quality footage will be minimal compared to if they had done the same from the beginning. For television news, the accompanying footage makes or breaks the story. No footage, no coverage.

  • 153.
  • At 01:38 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Cheryl wrote:

I believe that the BBC did the right thing because as a new agency their responsibility is to keep the public informed. Though I undrstand the point that alot of other persons are making, I completely disagree that such pertinent news should have been kept from the public. If you think long and hard you'll see that by seeing the video you grasped further understanding of why the event took place. You now know what to look for in the future when you see a teenager exibiting the same kind of behaviour. Maybe because of viewing this video another incident such as this will be avoided in the future because some vigilent person will remember and recognise the warning signs. On my way to work this morning I saw a bumper sticker which said "Gun control is in making sure you hit your target" Does this mean I believe and will adopt that?

  • 154.
  • At 01:43 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Akber Kassam wrote:

BBC has done right thing by showing the video.!!!

Do the public want to see these things? Probably not.

No they need to see them? To some extent, certainly yes.

The most common reaction I heard from those around me when this happened was, basically, "how can something like this happen?". This video gives us valuable insight into how something like this can happen and brings some clarity to what is, in itself, a baffling and horrific story.

And why for only 24 hours? Simple really, the BBC judged that this was time enough for use of the clips to illustrate the context of this story properly and allowing it to be shown for longer would turn it into sensationalism.

Unfortunately, many of the comments on here read as though posters have made up their minds before judging the video and accompanying interpretations for themselves and would be opposed to their showing whatever the circumstances.

The provision of news is not an exact science - withhold information like this and an equal number of people would be crying censorship and condemning the BBC and other organisations for that reason.

All they can do is make the choice that they believe to be the right one, because at the end of the day whatever decision is made will be wrong in the eyes of a section of the audience.

  • 156.
  • At 01:51 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Kathryn wrote:

Tony Burman of CBC News was right in refusing to broadcast the video. Like him and like david I fear its impact may be future 'copycat' killings. It would have better to leave the thing alone. Why was this murderer given his five minutes of fame?

  • 157.
  • At 01:52 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • SR wrote:

I think it was a sound decision to allow people to view the video and make judgements themselves, rather than being told 'the killer was a madman, he was insane, this was the act of a psychpath'.
I think such videos have a certain educational value, and if they do offend anybody: the captions clearly indicated what you were about to see, if you are the *squeamish* type, maybe you should've refrained from watching.

  • 158.
  • At 01:58 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Joe Soap wrote:

When you cut through the layers of varied opinion, the person who makes the final judgement should have an accord with the general taste of the British public. It would be clear to anyone with good taste that showing video clips of this nature would be regarded as poor taste and countary to good public opinion. On the other hand, if the BBC were trying to be devisive to illuminate just how crazy gun laws are in the USA, then it's a job well done in the grand scheme of things!
Yet, I thought the BBC News was a programme designed to inform - not have an opinion OR SENSATIONALISE FOR RATINGS PURPOSES....IT'S CLEAR THAT THE BBC ARE A MOUTHPIECE FOR THE ORDER OF THE DAY AND ALWAYS WILL BE!!

  • 159.
  • At 02:00 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Ethan wrote:

Thank you for showing the clips. It helped me to understand that this man was utterly insane. This brought sense into a completely senseless act. Thank you.

  • 160.
  • At 02:02 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Mitz wrote:

I do not think that bbc was wrong at all, we all have sympathy for the families of the victims, but by diong this,people can undersatnd and maybe one day stop something like this happening again, we know understand a bit of why he did this, so maybe we can learn form this and understand the what a person with such abilities can become.
It might be unsensitive to some, but might help others understand.
there is no excuse for what this guy has done it was not human.
but do not blame BBC for trying to infrom people.

  • 161.
  • At 02:03 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Jonathan Grainger wrote:

I dont see what the big deal is. If you dont want to see it, turn it off. There horrible things in the news every day, this is the world we live in. People need to face facts and deal with reality, not shove it under the rug until it looks all nice again.

  • 162.
  • At 02:07 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Erin wrote:

I come to the BBC for news to get away from the sensational news outlets we have here in the U.S.. The age of information has brought us many wonderful things, but poor judgement and a 'because we can' attitude now seems to reign. Cho tape aside, did you know that a family found out their child had been shot when they saw him being carried across campus to safety? Where is the common sense? Has society become so obesessed with instant gratification that our journalists are now merely commentators of events in progress like some sporting event? The public at large needs to think long and hard about who they have become. After all, the news outlets are just giving us what we want.

  • 163.
  • At 02:07 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Ricahrd Robinson wrote:

As a Brit living in the US for many years I am very disappointed in the BBC. I expected the US new channels to show the video but also expected the BBC to show more class, compassion and consideration but alas that did not happen.

I feel that those that did show the footage have acted on the instructions of the perpetrator.

  • 164.
  • At 02:45 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

Why!Why!Why do you the media persist in glorifying this type of violence not only on film but in music and computer gaming. This is unexceptable. you are all responsible to sort this problem out. But no you want to see this type of thing as to sell your products, promoting violence to us the stupid.

As i know when i was younger i was influenced by certain music. I'm not saying that all young folk are easily influenced but there is a HELL of a lot that are. Don't forget these guys lack life experience, and can be programmed in the wrong way. Wise up you are responsible.

  • 165.
  • At 02:45 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • karen hodges wrote:

It's the same old story, whether it's the Virginia shootings or Sassam Hussein being executed. The news channels, BBC included,are not going to miss the chance to air some tasteless footage. Then they have a discussion about the rights and wrongs of doing so, and so that makes everything OK! Pathetic and predictable reaction BBC.

  • 166.
  • At 03:22 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Simon Sweet wrote:

I do find it quite disconcerting that all of the discussion about this horrendous incident now seems to be focused around the issue of the decision to show the videos on TV. Surely it is more important to be analysing how this young man came to commit such a violent crime rather than spend endless TV time and newspaper space debating the rights and wrongs of the video, it would have just ended up on U tube anyway so does it really matter that a TV channel transmitted it?

  • 167.
  • At 03:37 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Don Colley wrote:

Get the murderer off the front pages and get the pictures of those who were murdered onto it. Time has come and gone for this killer to be immortalized in press. Immortalize those who lost their lives.

Sadly, I have seen few biographies of some of the victims on the back pages of many newspapers' first sections and just briefly on some newscasts. The lead picture and story, ad nauseum, of how badly the killer was treated as a child has led the newscast and featured on the front pages.

I want to know those whose lives were taken, not the mass murderer who perpetrated this heinous crime.

  • 168.
  • At 03:47 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • j m deene wrote:

Full credit to the BBC for its coverage of this one. Although I don't like these suicide porno movies, the context in which the video appeared was excellent: the BBC did not start asking "Maybe the rich kids treated him badly" or "maybe the woman he was stalking was wrong to snub his advances". Instead the focus was on him being misogynistic and having a false sense of grievances against his victims.

This was a refreshing change from the way the BBC usually covers martyrdom/hostage videos, such as those from Shehzad Tanweer where the commentary and context seeks to rationalise something inherently irrational and nihilistic.

Maybe the BBC is abandoning its moral relativism disguised as impartiality!

  • 169.
  • At 03:56 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • vidal wrote:

BBC (Bullhorn Blower Corporation)needs to respect viewer intelligence. You could start by getting a couple of investigative journalists (remember them?) to investigate the following anomalies in the US Campus Shooter case:
1. To buy a gun in Virginia you need to be a US citizen. Wasn't the guy a resident alien? Investigate.
2. The gun shop background check came back clear. How is this possible? He had come to the attention of university authorities and was checked into a mental hospital.
3. Apparently 150 SHOTS were fired. How did he single-handedly retain control over 30 (hysterical?) people for the time it would have taken him to shoot, RELOAD, and shoot again - 3 times each?

4. Numbers were filed off guns? Were they the ones he purchased. In one article, gunshop says one gun was bought - yet pictures show Cho wielding guns?

Stenographers? Or journalists? You decide.

  • 170.
  • At 04:02 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • mariana wrote:

it's a journalism duty to tell the audience the truth. i think people are overreacting. every day we see videos of terrorists on tv and does anybody complain? no.

  • 171.
  • At 04:22 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Neanie wrote:

For what it's worth I agree completely with Don Colley. If we have to be given any kind of news I'd rather learn about the people who were taken prematurely than the sadist who took them away. Irregardless of what happened to him as a child nothing justifies what he has done. And if that sort of information is to be used it should be by social workers to see where they failed him at THAT time if he was in fact abused.
No one needs to hear any more on this character. Why keep enforcing it through your site and shows?

  • 172.
  • At 04:37 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Subhasish wrote:

What is most disturbing with broadcasting those images is an implicit recognition of the Killer's viewpoint and being a medium to convey 'his side of the story'. While it may have added value to law enforcement, it is of little to the public in general which only created paranoia and potentially adverse mindset for persons needing medical attention. Not only is the likelyhood of a copycat increased, but conversly -the likely hood of bullying of loners and other such patients increased, thus not helping the social balance much.

  • 173.
  • At 04:50 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Romulo Brito Souza wrote:

It is ridiculous to say that BBC editor's used common sense when they decided to go along with all the media sensationalism regarding this terrible tragedy. The point here is that such scenes were a total disrespect to the families who lost their loved one in this tragedy. The real reason behind BBC’s decision was not to inform, but to take advantage of this tragedy at the expense of other’s suffering and obviously, to keep up with competition. You sure lost a great opportunity to differentiate yourselves from the rest of the pack, whose intentions are only for financial gain. What a shame!

  • 174.
  • At 04:51 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Si Peters wrote:

All the arguments for censoring the video are not consistently followed through. It seems to me like people jumping on the "outrage" bandwagon to show how much they care.

If you follow the logic through then ideally the BBC would not have reported the case and you wouldn't know about it at all. There you go: copycat killings prevented!

It happened. The details are true. The function of news is to show you what happened: not play coy and censor for your delicate dispositions. If you don't want to know what happened, don't watch the news. Instead imagine you live is a nice fairytale world with white-washed walls. You'll be happier that way.

  • 175.
  • At 05:07 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • John Smith wrote:

Where a genuine, rational, carefully-considered decision of this kind is made, it must surely be one of the hardest decisions any person can make. From the article, it seems clear that the BBC made their decision from that sort of standpoint. Whether you agree with their conclusions or not, that deserves respect. The media, in general and as a whole, has earned a less than stellar reputation when it comes to thinking before acting.


Was the decision the right one? I don't think anyone is capable of knowing. All I think anyone can say is that we will know when a "right" decision has previously been made because it will have had a positive impact.


Unless the TV license payers plan on building a fully-functional TARDIS for the BBC, our questioning and skepticism would be better aimed at how the decision was made and not on the decision itself.

  • 176.
  • At 05:11 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Harold Hall wrote:

The Editor's explanation for showing the rantings of a madman was entirely predicatable - it doesn't do to be out of step with 'media mates'. If you cannot be first then you had better be fast. Yet another gross abuse of power which will, at some time in the future, lead us to accept that self-regulation is a pious hope and formal regulation of some kind is unavoidable.

  • 177.
  • At 05:21 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Clare Rodgers wrote:

It seems so sad to me that so many people can describe such footage as "interesting" and of "educational value".

The vast majority of people will never require such an education and instead become just a little more desensitised to to the violence and hatred that permeates the news every day.

And the timing is appalling - directly afterwards, whilst some relatives don't even know what has happened! You say you'd have "alerted relatives to potentially upsetting content" - so you'd have told them it was going out regardless in fact. It might be deeply traumatic and in bad taste but we're showing it anyway is in fact your view!?

Surely for the general person on the street, simple transcripts of some of what was said would have sufficed and more in depth studies/footage made available in a controlled manner to those people in a position to make a difference in such situations! Counsellors, police etc.

That might seem like a restriction on information, but I truly see no benefit in gradually eroding society's horror at such incidents nor assuring their perpetrators such world-wide notoriety!

  • 178.
  • At 05:22 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Rick Jernigan wrote:

'Crap is King' "Give us dirty laundry" *Got the bubble-headed bleached blonde; comes on at 5:00, she can tell you 'bout the plane crash with a gleam in her eye; it's interesting when people die; we need dirty laundry!" They can 'do the innuendo', they can dance and sing; and when it's said and done they haven't told you A THING! We all know that crap is king; give us dirty laundry!" ***Don Henley /of The Eagles***

  • 179.
  • At 05:25 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Jonathan Cornelius wrote:

Cho made the video in order for it to be disseminated, and undoubtedly the prospect of posthumous "fame" was one of his motivations.

You've gone along with his wishes and, with it, encouraged similarly ill individuals to believe that they can emulate him...right down to the posthumous video.

  • 180.
  • At 05:51 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Robert Lalah wrote:

I think that all the news organizations that took the decision to broadcast the killer's rantings played a great part in helping him realise his goals. He obviously wanted his face on every news station, news web site and newspaper across the world and by the looks of it, mission accomplished. He wanted to become famous after his death for what he did at that college and media companies across the world played right into his hands, just as he knew they would. Because he killed himself after his murderous rampage, the family members of his victims will have no retribution. They can't see him sent to prison for the rest of his life, or be put to death for his crimes. The only power they could have had was to prevent the murderer's plan from being fully realised. It's all they had, the only way to make his plan into anything but a complete success was to not show his manifesto to the world as he wanted. But now that the pics that he posed for as well as his writings and rantings have been broadcast across the world, then I'm sure that if he could see all the attention he's getting now, he would smile and say: "mission accomplished".

Saying "However, given that the video is already widely available" seems like you are excusing yourselves from something you know you shouldn't do just because everyone else is doing it.

It is no surprise that most news channels and shows included the footage they, after all, are interested solely in advertising revenue. As many others have commented before me, we expect better from the BBC.

  • 182.
  • At 09:35 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • greg wrote:

It should never have been shown, that is exactly what he wanted to happen.

I think by showing it it may have actually increased the risk of more of these things happening as desperate people may well think they will be shown on TV to the world if they do the same.

he got the chance to tell the world what he wanted to say and i think the news network (like most news networks in America) was incompetent, they should've just given it to the police as evidence and left it at that.

  • 183.
  • At 11:12 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • Clothilde Simon wrote:

I think you were right to show the video; the only message that it gives is that Cho was a nutter. It is not likely to inspire emulators.

  • 184.
  • At 11:21 PM on 20 Apr 2007,
  • mark sherman wrote:

It's clear that this young man is a posthumous master of media manipulation. NBC'S decision to broadcast guaranteed that outlets like the BBC would not be able to avoid broadcasting his images, guaranteeing his place in an evil pantheon that is sure to be emulated.

  • 185.
  • At 01:29 AM on 21 Apr 2007,
  • Dom wrote:

Or you could have decided not to air material from the murderer's publicity package because of the feelings of those affected, the wishes of the police investigating the crime, and the dangers of seeming to glamorize the self-promotion of a horribly sick young man.

We could readily guess all the journo-think you have offered in defence of the decision. To some of us it was blatantly obviously simply another example of crass, frenzied, callous, media sensationalism.

There is no justification for showing that stuff, any of it. I suggest it was a major error of judgement on the part of the media machines, and that you need to reflect on why it is you cannot percieve that.

Freedom needs must go hand in hand with principle, responsibilty and care or its just excuse. I suggest you have lost track of what is what.

Certainly, we didn't want to see it and turned over. It was disgusting. It should not have been on air. Full stop.

  • 186.
  • At 03:17 AM on 21 Apr 2007,
  • Shae wrote:

Showing such a video is merely a part of reporting the complete story. One should expect as much from any news agency - that the public may be given the full picture.

With this particular story, most people are aware that a massacre occured at Virginia Tech. Does it not follow, then, that some of the details are going to be disturbing and controversial?

Giving the whole story is what a news agency should do. Let the BBC get on with their job.

I think that it was unnecessary to show the video. I'm not sure how it contributes to understanding the story, it would have been enough to perhaps describe the content of the video, establish that the man was in an obvious state of mental illness.

To broadcast it merely publicises the man, and sends very much the wrong message to other sad, deluded individuals who seek to achieve fame or publicise their (however confused) message. It also has the potential to prolong the grieving of the families of victims.

I might add that I felt exactly the same about the beheading videos seen that emerged from Iraq.

I think that it was unnecessary to show the video. I'm not sure how it contributes to understanding the story, it would have been enough to perhaps describe the content of the video, establish that the man was in an obvious state of mental illness.

To broadcast it merely publicises the man, and sends very much the wrong message to other sad, deluded individuals who seek to achieve fame or publicise their (however confused) message. It also has the potential to prolong the grieving of the families of victims.

I might add that I felt exactly the same about the beheading videos seen that emerged from Iraq.

  • 189.
  • At 08:53 AM on 21 Apr 2007,
  • Dave Jones wrote:

Good grief, lets close our eyes and pretend it didn't happen.

Or lets just trust what the media tell us, and not see for ourselves.

No airing the video does not glorify a killer, it shows the killer for what he is.

I am amazed at how we should only see lovely pictures of the victims, avoid all ugliness. This is why we have war, we sanatise too much. Hide the ugliness, and pretend its all roses.

  • 190.
  • At 09:01 AM on 21 Apr 2007,
  • Les wrote:

To the people whothink airing the video will encourage copycat killings and give Cho his 15 minutes of fame. the inspiration to copycat was given immediately after the shootings by the medias constant referring to it as THE WORST MASSACRE IN US HISTORY - the next paranoid schitzophrenic who commits suicide by unleashing his rage on society will seek to better that number of victims- to mass murderers its all about numbers. The video might even deter some- because its removed some of the mystery. Next, Cho is getting all the fame and attention he may have craved in his lonely isolated existence (regardless of videos, photos etc). We are retracing his steps, going through his dorm,seeing his childhood home. This very ill individual is getting a massive amount of publicity anyway. I

  • 191.
  • At 09:42 PM on 21 Apr 2007,
  • Rich wrote:

I am concerned that some here seem to consider screening the video justifiable because other news organisations have already done so and it's 'freely available' on sites such as YouTube. The BBC is supposed to operate to a higher standard than commercial media whose ultimate guiding principle is revenue maximisation. That's why it's publicly funded. There's a good reason why I don't watch Sky News or click links to voyeuristic material on video websites. This editorial approach from the BBC will only result in a game of follow-my leader leading us all down an increasingly slippery slope to a very bad place.

The hour is rapidly approaching when the BBC must decide once and for all what it wants to be - personally I think the world has more than enough ITNs and NBCs and is screaming out for a credible and measured alternative.

  • 192.
  • At 02:58 PM on 22 Apr 2007,
  • John Morrish wrote:

Very disappointed in the BBC's reporting of this very unfortunate incident.
It needed reporting but it did not need such extended, in depth coverage with such graphic 'explanations'.
There are many serious events all round the world which would benefit from some of this unnecessarily utilised air time.
Another example of the media preferring the bad news.

  • 193.
  • At 09:39 AM on 23 Apr 2007,
  • Sharad Sharma wrote:

I see many blaming the media for showing the images and videos of Cho. While there is a point to it, it is totally incorrect to finger point media for its true role of bringing out the news and facts to the people.

There are more damaging things if we just talk about the violence today shown in the Movies or the horrifyingly violent video and PC games made available to teenagers.

Also one has to think about the changes in the parent-child relationships due to changes in our societies, especially in wester societies. There is hardly any observation, guidance or counseling involved. The busy schedule of the parents leaves the child in front of TV set or PC which in itself is highly damaging.

Coming to the events in USA, it is amazing how powerful the arms lobby has gotten. You see people and governments condemning the acts of Cho, fellow students, families and friends praying for the victims but what you rarely see is for this group to go out and voice their concerns against gun laws in USA.

The strength of the Arms lobby in USA is not allowing their politicians to address this issue and they need a majority support from the people to do so.

The supporters of the gun law in the US, argue that a sick person with intentions to kill would find ways to do so - true but a sick person who can go out and buy guns almost as easily as buying pizza can do havoc as seen at VT.

There is no rational for the historic gun law in US to be applicable in today's society. This needs to be changed, changed quickly and changed fundamentally.

  • 194.
  • At 10:30 AM on 23 Apr 2007,
  • Ashliegh McClements wrote:

Who are you trying to kid? I think it was to prove a point. Not only the BBC but other news institutions also.As if it was a piece of juicy gossip, was it to show people that it wasn't only a piece of police evidence but also a piece of material which proved the newspapers and news reporters were telling the truth not glorifying the event like usual.It was strongly reminiscent of kids in the playground....' ha ha look what we got' .Congratulations.

  • 195.
  • At 02:18 PM on 23 Apr 2007,
  • Angus Bearn wrote:

Tony Burman of CBC says it for me. It is possible to be a decent journalist and a decent human being at the same time, and the BBC journalists got this horribly wrong.

  • 196.
  • At 11:02 PM on 23 Apr 2007,
  • mark playne wrote:

I thought the showing of the video was 'bad news' but was shocked when on Sunday morning as I queued in my corner shop, I overheard two gangly teenager lads chatting and fidgeting, both of them unsure what to do with their hands and legs. One asked the other if he'd seen the video. They were clearly impressed and were asking each other if they knew how to access any other hidden stuff, that hadn't been shown. They moved onto talking about other cool videos of killings, beheadings that are banned from normal viewing. They discussed which mate had got a copy and rumours to where they had heard they could get more.

These lads were not about to go out and buy a gun, but they were clearly very impressed and fascinated by the instant cult status the killer had gained himself.
His picture was on the front cover of every paper in this country & I'm sure in the States, Europe and many other parts of the world too.
How many of our most famous celeb's could ever claim to such coverage, even in their death?

Many people spend their lives trying to gain just 1% of that fame and attention.
There might be a 1 in 100 million chance that someone decides to copy, irrationally propel themselves into instant 'big Rambo brother' stardom....but those stats mean it is almost certainly going to happen again, and soon.

Fame? A goal at Wembley? Your pop video on MTV? Finally get into the top 100 rich list? Pah! All you have to do is take out 34 people* before you kill yourself. Simple.

*small print: conditions to this fame apply: fame only gained if you kill certain types of people in certain countries, of course.)

  • 197.
  • At 05:19 PM on 25 Apr 2007,
  • Ally wrote:

There was absolutely no justification to show the video. It's like Pop Idol for mass murderers.

This is another one of those, you're dammed if you do and dammed if you dont scenarios. In the very end however, as a news agency to err on the side of showing the information is probably the right thing to do. The truth shall set you free right?

  • 199.
  • At 12:47 PM on 27 Apr 2007,
  • Alexandra Maher wrote:

"Given that the video is already widely available"?? Come on, hardly an excuse. How about showing a little moral fibre and leading by example by refusing to show the video?

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