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The challenges of reporting Gaddafi's death

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Mary Hockaday Mary Hockaday | 11:55 UK time, Friday, 21 October 2011

When the end came, it came very suddenly. For months, the Libyan rebels, supported by Nato, were striving to end Muammar Gaddafi's rule in Libya. For weeks that goal seemed to be coming closer, but for many Libyans a tantalising question remained: where was Gaddafi? For days, attention has been on his hometown of Sirte, where Gaddafi loyalists held out. Then yesterday, Sirte fell and suddenly, unexpectedly, Gaddafi was found. A dramatic news day, which posed many challenges. Our continuing commitment to coverage of Libya means we were able to provide on the ground reporting from Sirte. We are the only UK news organisation to have had a permanent continuous presence in Libya since February and yesterday, our correspondent Gabriel Gatehouse was the only UK broadcaster in Sirte as Gaddafi was killed, able to provide first-hand reporting of what happened, carefully piecing together the day's events. We gained big audiences for our coverage yesterday across platforms.

Col Gaddafi


It was a confusing story. This posed another challenge. In the age of mobile phones, footage of the capture of Gaddafi soon started to emerge. We could not always be clear of its origins so it was important to make what checks we could and then be very clear with our audiences what we'd been able to verify and what we hadn't. The other challenge was posed by the nature of the footage itself - very graphic, some of it showing Gaddafi alive but manhandled and bloody and other footage and stills showing his dead and bloodied body. We judged that it was right to use some footage and stills, with warnings about their nature. Part of yesterday's story, especially in the first hours, was the swirl of rumour. The images of his dead body were an important part of telling the story to confirm reports of his death. Images of him alive but manhandled were also disturbing, but told an equally important part of the story about how his captors treated him and how far he himself had fallen. As the different footage emerged through the afternoon, it became an important way for us to piece together what happened - what were the circumstances of his death, did he die from wounds sustained in the fighting or was he captured alive and then shot? As different officials and eyewitnesses gave different accounts, the footage helped us share emerging photographic evidence with the audience.

We do not use such pictures lightly. There are sequences we did not show because we considered them too graphic and we took judgements about what was acceptable for different audiences on different platforms at different times of day, especially for the pre-watershed BBC1 bulletins. I recognise that not every member of the audience will agree with our decisions, but we thought carefully about how to balance honest coverage of the story with audience sensitivity. The News Channel faces a different challenge. We know that many people join the coverage through the day or only watch for a short while. For these audiences we need to keep retelling the story. But we also know that some people watch the live rolling coverage for several hours, and with the Gaddafi story this meant some repetition of the graphic images. It is a difficult balance to strike. For the website, we chose to use an image of Gaddafi's body in the rotating picture gallery on the front page. We recognise that it is hard to provide a warning on the front page and so while we felt it was an important part of telling the core story in the early stages, as time passed we found other ways to convey what had happened on the front page, with the most graphic images at least a click away and with a clear warning.

There were undoubtedly shocking and disturbing images from yesterday. But as a news organisation our role is to report what happened, and that can include shocking and disturbing things. We thought carefully about the use of pictures - which incidentally we used more sparingly than many other UK media - and I believe that overall they were editorially justified to convey the nature of yesterday's dramatic and gruesome events.

Update 24 October: Steve Herrmann, editor of the BBC News website, adds: "Some of the comments in response to this blog post relate specifically to the News website, so I thought it would be worth a brief addition. We included a picture of the dead Muammar Gaddafi on our front page for some of Thursday afternoon, and to those who were shocked by this, we are sorry for any distress it caused. We are working on ways to ensure that we can give appropriate warnings on our website when we think images from the news are especially disturbing."

Mary Hockaday is head of the BBC newsroom.


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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    "For the website, we chose to use an image of Gaddafi's body in the rotating picture gallery on the front page."

    When I visited the BBC homepage the first image that flashed up - which was definitely not part of a rotating picture gallery - was a graphic image of Gaddafi's body. No warning, no click through, no choice for me to not see it. Probably it later became part of a rolling gallery but it certainly wasn't at the beginning.

    Channel 4 was the only website that still managed to report and have a warning, I am shocked that the BBC did not. If one of our leaders was killed in such a way would the BBC be so quick to display it?

  • Comment number 4.

    Anyone investigating or pointing out that in this case UNHCR and AI are getting involved, they were so quiet when Osama was killed, so what is the difference? Americans have the license to kill? Non of these organizations came out when Osama was killed and buried in secret. Where is equality? What makes the USA above the law?

  • Comment number 5.

    Thank you for being so honest about how such decisions are made. The 'trap' between not making them lightly and yet needing to make them quickly must be intensely pressured. I wrote about this earlier whilst trying to assess my own role as viewer in the 'journey' of these images in a post (provocatively) called "victory porn"
    Explaining your reasoning, as you have done above, is part of what makes people like me appreciate the BBC

  • Comment number 6.

    My child wanted to find a weather forecast, he opened the BBC news online and was horrified to see what he knew was a picture of a REAL dead body. I do not choose when YOUR children learn about sex or drugs or any other 'realities of life', who are you to decide my child is old enough to have this thrust in his face. As usual the BBC standard response to this type of complaint is, 'we are sorry you didn't like this, is our decision to do what we want and as such we will, thank you for your in put.' Films, TV and games have to abide by strict licensing rules, the Media both tv and Newspapers can do as they please because they are self-governing.

  • Comment number 7.

    Re: the picture of Gaddafi's bloodied corpse. Sorry but there wasn't a warning. Neither on the frontpage where it was the first image that loaded (the page that may people including myself have as the bookmark for the entire BBC news website) - or on the "live updates" section where it was just inserted in to the feed, again with no warning.

    However important the overall story might be, however much the BBC may feel the need to be "first" or "ground breaking" - the close-up image of a bloodied, mutilated corpse is not what I wish to see by default amd without warning when opening ANY website.

    (Sky News website on the other hand had "we think this is a picture of Gaddafi, it may be disturbing" piece of text at the bottom of the main report (NOT the homepage), followed by a "click here to view image". So you had to specifically view that story, then consciously opt to reveal the image. So your claim of being comparatively moderate would also seem to be misleading, since they are often touted as being the more sensationalist media outlet.)

  • Comment number 8.

    Does the BBC not understand that children also may view this website?

    Does the BBC also understand that the first point of entry is not always the homepage? It's RSS feeds which we use on our virtual learning environment yesterday pointed students to this URL for the conflict in pictures

    Do you think the 3rd photo along is appropriate for a child to view? What are you thinking? This is complete madness I think the BBC require some safeguarding training. This page will remain blocked within our organisation I am considering having these feeds permanently removed if the BBC cannot be trusted to protect it's younger viewers

  • Comment number 9.

    I think the BBC is mostly balanced and reasonable. In this particular issue, I think the BBC got it wholly worng. I accept that mistakes can be made but when mistakes are made, I also expect these to be acknowledged and accepted. Ms Hockaday's response makes mention of warnings - this is not correct. There was as much warning as there was jusitication for using the image(s) - i.e. none.

  • Comment number 10.

    I have no dispute with you reporting shocking and disturbing news, but I think it was totally unnecessary to subject viewers to graphically brutal scenes of death. Even if a warning was given, this was unlikely to prevent children from seeing them. I inadvertently saw some of this graphic footage and found the images haunted me through the night. The normalisation of violence by its repeated presence on our TV screens is not something to be excused. The BBC should lead by example and not pander to the low moral standards of others.

  • Comment number 11.

    Soooo! let me get this straight; warfare is a terrible event with lots of dying and suffering, horror and mutilation. It is particularly depressing when this takes place between natives of the same country. And yet here we have someone from the BBC who can quite readily find a reason for showing explicit, graphic and, some would say, pornographic images from the battlefield.
    So far I have yet to hear or see a BBC exec who doesn't fully justify their take on what should be shown on TV with regard to news items. However news-worthy an event may be, that does not give the BBC the right to show graphic images on the 6 o'clock news such as were shown last night. 'Giving warnings' is a pathetic excuse to hide behind. Mary Hockaday makes a lot of noise about the BBC presence in Sirte and about the huge numbers of viewers: maybe thats your problem Mary. Perhaps if you gave more thought to the feelings and circumstances of your audience, you could retain your viewing figures AND still enjoy the respect of the vast majority of the licence-paying public. I urge you NOT to go down the 'Red Top' route of reporting such horrors, leave that for the Sun and the Mirror! Nice try; no cigar today Mary.

  • Comment number 12.

    I made a complaint about your use of the image of Gaddafi's corpse on the site as a whole, and on the front page, and was referred here in reply.

    I agree broadly with your justification for reproducing disturbing and graphic images of Gaddafi's death; you're a news organisation, no matter how grisly it is, it is news. It's your duty to inform, and people in Libya and Libyan ex-pats in the UK may need to see Gaddafi dead for their own sense of closure on his awful dictatorship.

    However, in addition to having a picture of the corpse, (which, as fiona_paj says, was NOT in any way part of a rotating set of images originally) on the front page, which I don't think was justified at all at any point, considering as you say you cannot put warnings on that, you ALSO had it as a thumbnail, for a while, in your top news segment. This meant that when I loaded a page wholly unrelated to Libya in any way ( to be specific; I really wish now I had had the stomach to screencap it but I didn't) I also saw, in the top right hand corner, a picture of Gaddafi's dead face.

    How is that justifiable? Could you not have put a breaking news placeholder in? A picture of him, as you have now, alive? I would've believed you without the photographic evidence; you're the BBC, you've built up your reputation as a trustworthy source of news.

    I feel strongly that you broke that trust with the licence payer yesterday, and I don't feel that this article in any way addresses my specific complaint.

    It's not the first time things have happened fast in Libya or news in general, it's not the first time you've had graphic images available to you in Libya or news in general; you should have found a way to communicate without the shock tactics immediately.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    I made a complaint about graphic and unnecessary images being showed on the closing titles of yesterday's edition on This Week. The proramme ended with light hearted quipping and giggling from Andrew Neil, Ms Abbot and Mr Portillo then the titles rolled with images of Gadaffi's bloody corpse accompanied by pop music (Adam and The Ants' Dog Eat Dog).
    I was shocked a the out of context ways these image were shown. I complained via the BBC's web site, and all I received was a token response (Complaint Response CAS-1056233-GTVR0L) about how carefully the BBC considered the issues before deciding to transmit these pictures on TV News, and linked to this blog.
    Well it wasn't TV News. My complaint was about the light-hearted, often humourous political show This Week.
    Not satisfied with this fob off!

  • Comment number 15.

    Mathaba Independent Reporting is informing that the Green Committees have stated that Muammar Gaddafi is alive in well. That report might change, as time goes on. The mainstream media say the opposite. An initial report from Algeria ISP, which stated that Dr. Moussa Ibrahim had announced that Muammar Gaddafi was actually killed, is now said to be a complete hoax.
    As time passes, more and more of the pro-Gaddafi blogs are reporting (on what basis, I don't know) that Muammar is alive and well. AfriSynergy, submitted a video report that states that Muammar Gaddafi is not dead. Morris Herman doubts the media reports. Stephen Lendman believes NATO and the Interim Council are lying. The Russian supporters at [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] are adamant that the mainstream media reports of the death of Gaddafi are false.
    Does it matter? This war was never about Muammar Gaddafi. It was about what Gaddafi had done for his people in Libya, which the western media chose never to report. It was about his vision to unite all of Africa into a United States of Africa to stop the western profiteering & wars, about the water aqueducts, the free education, the guarantee of employment for university graduates...about so many things that made Libya great.

  • Comment number 16.

    I have just been directed to this blog entry following receipt of a response to a complaint I made yesterday and do not consider this response to excuse my child being exposed to grotesque imagery of death. The BBC do not have the remit to determine what my child does and does not see. That is my job as a parent and in order that I can control what my child does and does not see I should be able to rely on broadcaster respect for the watershed. In this case I could not.

    The statement that graphic images were preceded with a warning was certainly not true of the footage on News 24. A review of footage from yesterday evening would confirm this.

    Also, the adoption of a comparative stance to other media broadcasters is petulant. The actions of the BBC in in this case are not excused by other broadcasters' choices. That is merely a statement that the other broadcasters were even less sensitive.

    In terms of striking a balance between honest reporting and censorship for our children, the voyeuristic demands of some of the viewers could never outweigh the needs of our children. I urge the BBC to reassess their stance on this matter so that it does not happen again in future.

  • Comment number 17.

    So.... a BBC market rate has dashed to The Editors' blog to say that 'they got it about right', with a bunch of facts in support, and already a few actual viewers have responded to point out these facts are, at best, 'in error'.

    Who is correct, please?

    An answer would be appreciated, and before the thread gets closed.

    'We gained big audiences for our coverage yesterday across platforms.

    As all this means to the licence fee payer is you get a bigger bonus or bargaining chip in the minnow pool that is media executive musical chairs... bully. for. you.

    Bet Neswatch will be a hoot this week.

  • Comment number 18.

    An unacceptable response to my complaint to the BBC, and unacceptable reasoning behind it. There were, as I said in my complaint, NO controls in place to prevent a child form seeing this on the website, and I saw or heard no warnings form the news reporting staff on News 24. This will be going to my MP.

  • Comment number 19.

    Sorry, there were no warnings! not on the homepage nor on the news pages where I discovered it again. I'm a grown adult and I found these images appalling! How can you post a blog stating there were warnings? the only warning I found was on the 'Rise and Fall' Picture gallery, not on the news page or homepage!

  • Comment number 20.

    Mary, none of the comments you have made justifies the decision to show the footage of Gaddafi and it doesn't matter how many times you repeat that you thought long and hard about what footage to show. That is your job and a very responsible job it is too. In our very special and privileged society it has taken us hundreds of years to civilise ourselves beyond watching the public spectacle of a tortured man meeting his death by a lynch mob. Don't get me wrong - we did not live under Gaddafi's regime and we are not in a position to judge the behaviour of the individuals caught up in the moment of anger and feelings of injustice. It would be just as ridiculous to judge a father's action after witnessing the rape and murder of his daughter. However, you were not 'the father' nor have you been victim to Gaddafi's torturous regime so you were in a position to make a rational thoughtful judgement as to whether this was something anyone should witness.

    Deciding to show this footage reduced the BBC and its audience to the levels of a baying mob. The evolution of society happens when we realise that whilst victims must be satisfied by justice, it is the conscious behaviour of our collective (which must rise above our raw feelings) that makes us civilised. This is precisely why we do not hold public executions, or titillate the public with spectacles of torture. This is not because we do not understand the feelings of the victims, nor that there will be many who delight in the spectacle, but because the knitting of the delicate fabric of a civilised society requires us to always, always be vigilant, lest we reduce ourselves back to the levels of barbarism.
    The BBC represents a very rare gem. It represents the highest achievements of a democracy. It is greater than all those who work in it. It is funded by the people for the people and as such what it does and how it behaves should reflect the highest standards of the society we live in and to which we aspire. It cannot remove itself from this in the name of 'telling the news no matter what'.

    Otherwise you are reducing it to just chasing the ratings like the rest of the media needs to do to keep their advertising paymasters happy. There is more to 'civilised' in a democracy than just communicating what you think the masses want to see. It is about dignity, respect, rationalism, decency and enlightened thinking and of all places for this to be at the utmost of our consciousness is our communications channel. It represents who we are, it is our voice, our expression of our self. Unlike the daily emotional life of the individual, it is the place where we can represent our collective self at our best. You and your colleagues have a duty to us all to maintain not only the accuracy of the news but the quality of its communication too. The measure of a good journalist comes form her ability to describe to us accurately as witness to the events and spare us the degradation of needing to watch the footage.

  • Comment number 21.

    My 3.5 year old sat watching the news at 6 just before I took her up to bed. Before I could find the remote to turn off the tele after the quite honestly totally inadequate warning, saw the bloodied corpse. In damage limitation I attempted to cover her eyes (hard in a 3 year old).

    "why is that man looking scared" i.e. why is there a bloodied man begging for his life on the TV.

    "what is the rattling sound" something she repeated many times before getting into bed"

    As an intelligent child, clearly upset and distressed about what had been viewed, quite frankly so am I.

    I could understand the images on the news at 10 or Newsnight. But to show this on the Six Oclock News-- absolutely disgraceful.

    Overexcited editors made decisions too quickly. Do you not realise children watch tv at this time of day.

  • Comment number 22.

    I have to agree with many of the comments below. When I logged into the website I was immediately met with this image. It was not part of a revolving sequence nor, was I warned of what was about to be displayed. We look to the BBC to hold the highest media standards and in this instance we have been let down. Whilst I appreciate the editorial feeling that these images are important as part of the story can I suggest that in future they are not simply centre piece on the homepage and are instead accessed by an optional link.

  • Comment number 23.

    Quote from Mary Hockaday, above "...and I believe that overall they were editorially justified to convey the nature of yesterday's dramatic and gruesome events."

    Really, Ms Hockaday? Why then do you not show pictures of other murder victims? Regardless of what Gaddafi may or may not have done, he was still a human being and should have been treated with a modicum of human dignity by the BBC. There is really no excuse for this cheap, lame, sensationalised journalism. We knew he was said so; we didn't need to see pictures of his dead body.

    The response from the BBC in reply to my complaint about was pretty much what I expected; how predictable and how sad.

  • Comment number 24.

    I am just utterly dissappointed with this complete passive response. These disturbing images were shown on day time TV in full view of my two young daughters who entered the room with me at the point when these images were broadcasted. Is this not a circumstance you take into consideration? This is not OK, it is appauling to take adavantage of this situation.The BBC have violated my children and my right as a parent to protect them from such sights. I myself, would never wish to see sights like that. I am livid!

    The BBC could have covered this story as effectively without those images. I am sure it was not a mandatory requirement! who ever is making these decisions should take a step back and care a little more about the people who they are delivering this story too. I am positive the population would not have missed not seeing the images! what are you thinking??!!

  • Comment number 25.

    In 1305 Willam Wallace was hung drawn and quartered, his body was sent to the 4 corners of the island of Britain, it was a medieval and barbaric act then as it would be now. It caused shock and horror that remained in the collective conciousness for over 700 years. Today such acts are displayed on front pages of newspapers, on websites and our news, these acts are barbarious and medieval. I found the images of Gaddafi's body being brutalised his dead beaten up face to be gratutious and shocking. The BBC may be competing for news but this is a race to the bottom going for the lowest common denominator. Given that theses pictures were so regularly available the BBC could have suggested a weblink to see the pictures, if people wanted to be titillating in this fashion.

    Whilst I understand some of the feelings from the oppressed people of Libya, I cannot condone such rough justice as in reality it is no justice at all.

    The BBC has let us down by participating in the macarbe circus, shame on you BBC.

  • Comment number 26.

    The BBC did an excellent job of reporting what happened yesterday. Gaddafi's death was the subject of intense rumours and the only way to resolve those were by using video and pictorial evidence. Most of the comments here seem to be from people totally detached from the real world. War is brutal and graphic, if you can't handle that maybe you should stop watching the news altogether. And if your kids can't cope with death, buy them a hamster or goldfish — when it dies they will learn to cope with death and thence be better able to cope with the death of a loved one in later life.

  • Comment number 27.

    I listened to the "Gaddafi" coverage on BBC World Service radio: all the news without the distracting talking heads and graphic images. Kudos for the team of the World Service.

  • Comment number 28.

    Whilst not disregarding a debate about the limits to journalistic photography, am a little shocked at the level of parental outrage on this blog. I am the mother to an 8yr old and having heard rumours and twitter feed and then verified news reportage of developments at lunchtime about developments in Libya, I felt confident in knowing the likely content of the news my daughter was viewing - or not viewing. But the choice was mine as it should be - not offloading blame to the bbc

  • Comment number 29.

    Can I say thank you and well done to the BBC for not shying away from this.

    Yes, the images are distasteful but to the public I would say this (with particular thanks to an Internet commentator who put it much better than me):

    If you supported the NATO action in Libya, and the efforts of the Libyan to free themselves from a vicious despot and tyrannical Government, the sight of Gaddafi dead is part of your reckoning of what you supported.
    If you did not support those things then you have an image showing the violence and barbarity that lies behind the euphemistic language of political tough-talk and military-speak.

    Here is the one death that tens of thousands have died for and, in order to be informed, comfortable people a long way away are asking others to look at the pictures for them and to break the news "tastefully". But to ask that images of Gaddafi’s corpse be hidden from view as a matter of “taste” – something to be waved away like an unappetising entree - is an exercise in moral feebleness and evasion.

  • Comment number 30.

    How do you justify spending our money sending a news reader (Huw Edwards) to read the news from Tripoli when you already have reporters there?

  • Comment number 31.

    I'm no fan of Gadaffi, but I know there's two sides to every story, I guess you'll continue to forget how so many Western leaders and businesses would fawn all over him just to get their greedy paws on Libyan oil.
    You'll probably never mention how under Gadaffi, Libya gave more aid to the rest of Africa than ANY other country, Britain included and how he did more to spread peace through the continent than anyone else has ever done.
    He was despised by many, but there will be huge swathes of Africa who are sad to see him gone.

    Keep up the biased journalism, you're getting as good at it as the average tabloid, if only you'd leave it on the sports pages instead of letting it spread through your whole site and before you claim otherwise, it's there for anybody who cares to look.

  • Comment number 32.

    Oh dear, some people are such sensitive flowers... I have no problem with the images of Gadaffi: he got his just desserts, and it is important that he be seen to have got them, not just for us here in our cosy armchairs, but for the rest of the world, in particular the Libyans. I also wouldn't have a problem with children seeing the images, provided they weren't too young. If they're old enough to be learning about real, and worse, horrors (such as the Holocaust) in school, then they're old enough to watch real events on TV. If they're young enough to be seriously distressed by such images, then they shouldn't be watching the news anyway. I wasn't allowed to watch the news at 3 years old! What I watched, up until the age of about 13 or 14, was the responsibility of my parents. The BBC is a news organisation, and while they do have a certain responsibility about what they show, they are not our moral guardians.

  • Comment number 33.

    '32. At 06:16 22nd Oct 2011, Graphis wrote:
    Oh dear, some people are such sensitive flowers... I have no problem with the images of Gadaffi:'

    Me either. Though one cannot help but wonder if those so happy on day time real images of violence purely for ratings would be the same folk supporting nanny state impositions on video varieties for commercial gain.

    If those that want to bathe in video gore are so disposed, there is a watershed on broadcast, time delays or one extra link pre-warnings or parental controls for adult and medium to continue to serve each other's interests with little interference, but surely worthwhile optional protection for younger minds not exactly mandated to view if avoidable.

    However, I do have a problem with senior BBC management rushing to pre-empt a problem by being a bit shy on the truth.

    Neither the author, nor any gallant defenders, have so far confirmed or denied the accuracy of her claims in face of considerable eye-witness dispute.

    She has said what happened, and there are those here who have a different recollection.

    Which was it please?

    And if the viewers above are correct, how is it possible for the senior BBC person responsible to be, at best, so ill, or selectively informed?

    Like stealth edits, in the internet age, this is not a trend of carpet sweeping that time and moving on can erase.

  • Comment number 34.

    The backing of Libyan rebels backed by NATO shows that NATO is no different than Taliban. While the Taliban and their associates are active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. NATO is a terror World wide. The NATO members are all highly developed and rich Countries and they were expected to take Gaddafi alive. Lot of people are saying and I personally believe it to be true that NATO has been testing out new weapon systems, communication systems, etc in live war situations.
    For the last decade or more the US has several times tried to kill Gaddafi or were they testing the accuracy of their missile systems?
    Now they have left Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya in such a sorry state that they will require massive rebuilding and all the reconstruction contracts will go to the NATO Countries. Then they will set their defense forces and supply arms, etc. All these will be repaid in long term via Oil and a long term lease will serve their purpose.
    If NATO is not what it is then why are they not uprooting the breeding grounds of terrorists? Without prejudice Pakistan tops the list - has US forgotten Abottabad? Any way the US is making money by selling arms to these militants and they are being used against India. Therefore, Indians have the right to shout.

  • Comment number 35.

    I was very disturbed by the images of gaddafi being broadcast of friday lunch time, i agree this story needed covering but i sat with my 11 year old daughter to watch the lunch time news and she found the images broadcast very disurbing, i really like my daughter to understand what is going on in the world so lunch time news is ideal for this. Did the editors not realise that it is half term and the children are watching at lunch time.

  • Comment number 36.

    At last someone has stated the blindingly obvious. While justice appears to have been cheated by the way Gaddafi died, as Menzies Campbell said on 5 Live, it would have become a circus. Gaddafi would have used the platform of court to spread disquiet in Libya. The only gainers would have been the lawyers. Gaddafi got the justice he has meeted out for 40 years.

  • Comment number 37.

    I made my first ever complaint to the BBC on Thursday. It was about the photo of Gadaffi's dead body on the homepage of the BBC News website, my seven year old daughter almost saw it.

    I have no problem with my children learning about death, we have had to deal with it a number of times during their lives. However, they should not be exposed to such horrendous images yet.

    Anything else I say will pretty much reiterate what many others have already said here, that it was unacceptable, disturbing and should have been "hidden" behind a link to protect our children and those of us who didn't wish to see it.

  • Comment number 38.

    Military commanders in Misrata adamantly deny a post-mortem will be carried out on alleged body of Muammar al-Gaddafi - despite concerns over how he died. Interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil said an investigation was being conducted into the circumstances of Gaddafi's killing.Several foreign governments & human rights watchdogs are posing questions, which will likely remain unanswered.
    Gaddafi's body had been stored in a vegetable market freezer overnight & allegedly put on display for hundreds of curious onlookers on Saturday; I think this was the first time NTC stipulated: no autopsy.
    There were no immediate plans for National Transitional Council (NTC) chief Abdel Jalil to visit. Abdel Jalil will not be coming. Interim leader was in the main eastern city of Benghazi on Saturday visiting some of the wounded from the eight-month uprising that felled Gaddafi. Jalil answered "yes" when asked if the circumstances of Gaddafi's death were being investigated. Questions remain over how Gaddafi met his end after NTC fighters allegedly hauled him out of a culvert where he was hiding. Mobile phone videos show him still alive at that point. Footage showed the former dictator - face half-covered in blood, being dragged towards a vehicle by a delirious crowd. Those at the front, pushed and shook him, pulled him by the hair & hit him. At one point he appeared to be trying to speak. Subsequent footage showed him being hauled off the vehicle, still alive - hustled through the screaming crowd, before he disappears into the crush.
    Gunfire is heard.
    NTC leaders are adamant he was shot in the head when he was caught "in crossfire" between his supporters & new regime fighters soon after his capture. Images appear to support that Gaddafi was slaughtered. A young fighter from Benghazi claims he shot Gaddafi twice after capturing him - once under the arm & once in the head.
    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the "way his death happened poses an entire number of questions". It was Lavrov that started the call for a full investigation. UN human rights chief Navi Pillay also called for an investigation.
    Claudio Cordone, Sr. Director at Amnesty International, said that if Gaddafi "was killed after his capture, it would constitute a war crime and those responsible should be brought to justice."
    Gaddafi's widow, Safia, who fled to Algeria in August, called on the United Nations to investigate the circumstances of her husband's death.
    Seif al-Islam remains at large.
    So many questions, so few answers. At the very least, the NTC must allow validation that the b

  • Comment number 39.

    The argument that "it really happened so we showed it" is perfect sense. Thanks for explaining it. Can't wait for the queen's death so our kids can get to see some more nice footage of a still-warm corpse.

    The worst aspect was putting it on the BBC news homepage. No warning. To say removing it is censorship is misunderstanding too - censorship is about removing choice, which is all people are asking for.

    The BBC have been warned, and if I am forced to see more schocking, gruesome images by the BBC next time I will start a class action lawsuit.

    Thanks for your sideways apology anyway, I suppose.

    Jon Gomm

  • Comment number 40.

    The Death of Muammar Gaddafi may signal more problems than would have been the case if he had simply been treated for his wounds, transported to the Hague and placed on trial. This would have been the humane thing to do at the conclusion to this "humanitarian" war.
    At the very least, it is important that the body be positively identified, in a manner transparent to the entire world. This was:
    Muʿammar al-Gaddāfī
    June 1942 – 20 October 2011.
    I fear the Green Flag will fly again - held by those who fought so bravely for their leader.

  • Comment number 41.

    Like others I was also sent here after complaining about seeing the image of Gaddafi's dead body on the front page of the BBC news website without any warning. Media in general are getting out of control in showing what they think to be in the 'public's interest' to see/read. If they think pictures and videos such as these are necessary to "convey the nature of yesterday's dramatic and gruesome events" then it just shows how low journalism has sunk that it doesn't recognise how powerful words alone can be.

    'Everyone else was doing it' has never been an excuse for anything, and the BBC should be better than that. Time to rethink the licence fee.

  • Comment number 42.

    Kudos to BBC for showing Gaddafi lynching. Yes the world ought to know and understand what this intervention is leading to and what sort of republic is being founded!

  • Comment number 43.

    I find the comments above "seeing this footage on TV was so distasteful" soooo elitist. You find it distasteful to watch that in your living room... and sometimes kids are watching? Oh well this is the reality you have gifted to the children in countries like Iraq who watch such violence live with their own eyes - as a result of interventionist wars leading to sudden power vacuum and subsequent sectarian violence.... all in the name of the elusive mirage called liberty. So, yes, once again my kudos to BBC to show it live on TV - seeing is believing! I'm once again a fan of BBC!!

  • Comment number 44.

    Beeb, if you are sure you made the right choices, put this debate onto HYS, instead of hiding it away. Let licence fee payers decide if you got it just about right.

  • Comment number 45.

    sorry but this blog in no way justifies the coverage on yr one pm news. the points are relevant but it does not excuse the horrific images shown. bbc be ashamed of yourselves. i do not wish my licence money spent in this way.

  • Comment number 46.

    I have absolutely no problem with images of Gaddafi being shown on the news after the watershed; I am an adult and it is my coice to watch. What I object to is the graphic still footage of a dead body being shown on the website which my children can and do access. There was no warning ; it's sensationalist and irresponsible !

  • Comment number 47.

    We have to remember life is cruel. If we think back of all the people who were brutally murdered and in some cases in front of their relatives and children. What we observed by the media is not a patch. Gedaffi was given more than enough opertunity to hand himself over and that would have saved thousands of lives. He chose to live and die in Libya and chose for others to die in the same manner. They did not have a choice. How many young men are not dying at the same time. I think it is acceptable that the media show us when a Tiran falls. Libya is going to be a better place to live and the people will benefit, not just one family (Gidaffi's).

  • Comment number 48.

    I'm not an enraged parent, and hardly a delicate flower. I have dealt with the death and injury of people that I could reach out and touch, never mind see on a computer screen. That doesn't mean I want to be exposed to it at somebody else's whim, especially as an ambush when I wasn't looking for it.

    Claims about freedom of reporting and journalistic truth are laughable. It is not "censorship" to have the common sense to put such an image in a news article rather than used as the main picture on the homepage. Tell the news by all means. But do not assume that every visitor to your site wants to see graphic content, do not assume that the underlying story justifies the shock value.

    As for the "we needed to see the pictures as proof" poster above... what part of that image portrayed anything that the headline "Gaddafi is dead" missed out?

  • Comment number 49.

    I had also posted a complaint to the BBC regarding the display of these images, the first time I have felt the necessity. I am not impressed by their explanation. Auntie BEEB you have messed up and my opinion of you has gone right down

  • Comment number 50.

    with the depart of Godhafi is the NTC win the war? or NATO and it team win the war? Godhafi is and old man capture him and bring him to court he will be found guilty anyway. American and the west is always right. is a shame to humiliate a leader of a country even what mistake he do. god bless the remaining Godhafi

  • Comment number 51.

    i think africa is regretting gaddafi death. sometimes i think libyans will remember gaddafi one day. thanks

  • Comment number 52.

    To be fair an unbiased and show your not afraid of Muslim sentiments you should return to ask those Muslims comentators who were so upset at the Americans treatment of Bin Ladins body for their comments on the treatment of Gaddafi`s body by his fellow Muslims.

  • Comment number 53.

    The next time you run a story along the lines of "Are video games violent? Do they contain disturbing images? Do they corrupt our youth?" - expect to get called out on the Gaddafi pictures you showed...

  • Comment number 54.

    In 1965, when I was 13, my parents were out at a company Christmas party and I was staying overnight at a friend's house. During the evening news a verbal report was broadcast about a massacre of some missionaries in the Congo. The details of that report have never left me to this day. I didn't need pictures to confirm that something dreadfully evil had taken place. Are you really saying that we are so inhuman nowadays that you had to show us film of somebody being murdered in the afternoon? You may object to my use of the term murdered given what he stands accused of but he WAS captured alive and shot without a trial. And to think this is the company that sacked somebody for making a rude telephone call to a television star.

  • Comment number 55.

    More I read, including the comments from BBC submitters, the more questions I have. NATO, Washington, Western media, Qatar-controlled Al Jazeera, Saudi-controlled Al Arabia & other mainstream sources reported Gaddafi's death - often graphically - but nothing really transparent. Images of Gaddafi's alleged body are indecisive, jumbled...Could be anyone who vaguely resembled him.
    Green Committees are saying Gaddafi is alive; the enemy is seeking to take advantage of his being currently out of communications for security reasons.
    NATO & US State Department said it cannot confirm any reports. Meanwhile in Benghazi, crowds gathered in the streets to start celebrating the non-confirmed reports of Gaddafi's death. But don't Jamahiriya loyalists control most parts of major Libyan cities, including Tripoli, Benghazi, Misrata, Bani Walid, & Sirte - though territory shifts back & forth? Saudi Arabia-controlled Al Arabia reports Gaddafi's dead, as if they themselves saw capture & kill. Its reports even said he was found hiding in a culvert & begged rebels not to shoot him. (Recall unconfirmed similar reports about Saddam.) Is Al Arabia's claim false, aimed at undermining Gaddafi's revolutionary image? Gaddafi is not a coward. He cut no deals; he refused, stood his ground.
    There is nothing (transparent) to belie fabrication. Earlier claims had his son Khamis dead; he turned up alive. His sons Saif Al Islam and Moatessem were reported abducted or killed when, in fact, they were alive & free.
    Bin Laden's reported assassination was (I believe) a fabrication. In December 2001, he died of likely kidney failure. All subsequent videos & audios would therefore be false.
    On October 20, NATO waited until evening to announce anything. Saying Gaddafi's "rule of fear has finally come to an end," it stopped short of definitively confirming his death. Why? Last summer, Gaddafi was bogusly reported killed...Again? Now it's been reported that Gaddafi's body is to be handed over to relatives; what relatives - his sons, his wife in Algeria, his other relatives in Sirte?
    What is missing is Libyan loyalists' confirmation. No confirmation from Moussa.
    It is possible, isn't it, that NATO WAS GOING BROKE, could not carry on, and this is why Clinton made her spontaneous visit to Tripoli - shortly thereafter enabling her to cry out with a smile that Gadddafi was dead?
    Algeria ISP report headlined the Libyan leader is still alive...Gaddafi is in excellent health and has an excellent moral." His alleged capture "is simply a lie spewed by NATO & media misinformation. Purpose

  • Comment number 56.

    Definately too graphic and bad editorial decisions made in this case. Hopefully this will be taken into consideration in future coverage.

  • Comment number 57.

    Part 2:
    Purpose: to weaken and demoralize Libyan loyalists.
    If Gaddafi is dead, the biggest headline should be about the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) - Al Qaeda elements - left to "rule" Libya.
    Gaddafi's plan to establish a Pan-African currency represented an anti-colonialist threat & reason enough to topple him. Whether or not Gaddafi's alive or dead, his political leadership motivated "hundreds of thousands". @ 90% of Libyans supported Gaddafi: He provided free healthcare, education, housing assistance, electricity & water, as well as practically free gasoline...After 7 months of NATO bombing & rebel activity, much of Libya is ravaged. A year ago it functioned effectively/efficiently. A humanitarian crisis didn't exist until NATO caused one.
    Liberal democracy? Elections in eight months? There's more trouble ahead in Libya.

  • Comment number 58.

    the whole western world is talking about human right. where is Goddafi and Mutassim right? they been capture alive as high value prisoner and suppose to be protected but end up dead with no excuse. what is NATO right? their mandate is to protect civilian but act like licence killer and NTC air force. While Goddafi fled he and his convoy hardly harm any civilian why NATO force bomber them.NATO are to protect civilian not assassinate the leader of LIBYA.

  • Comment number 59.

    Nato help NTC to overthrow Goddafi goverment in return NTC will have to payback the cost of NATO operation in Libya by any mean whether by oil money or by bussiness contract. It mean NATO been employ by NTC as mercenaries. Is NATO been licence by the UN as mercenaries?

  • Comment number 60.

    Funny old world.

    It's like some have never heard of Photoshop or its video equivalent.

    And these days even one man's DNA test is another's 'who would you like it to be' back at the lab.

    'Seeing' is... no more to be trusted these days than anything spoken or written. And given who the players are, especially a media paid by the sensation, that is not very much.

    All I know is that if the intention was to avoid shrines, that shopping centre is going to have to do the deal of the century with Tom Tom if they want to be avoided.

    That's a big if, mind. Different cultures, different values. A fact the BRITISH broadcasting corporation might see merit in remembering.

  • Comment number 61.

    The NTC fighter who kill Goddafi dont think you are hero u are are just the instrument of traitor .My advice to the NTC government please do fulfill Goddafi last will if you are still Muslim

  • Comment number 62.

    It appears that, across its entire output, the BBC's Editors feel that they have 'got it about right' when it comes to good taste.

    And it must be true, as they say so.

  • Comment number 63.

    These days everyone with a mobile telephone is a potential photojournalist, and virtually every moment of dramatic death will be recorded by one bystander or another. In many cases the images will be used as evidence in any investigation and almost all will be available for viewing in one place or another on the internet. It would be unreasonable to expect news broadcasters not to publish such images, and most news editors know their audiences well enough to judge whether or not warnings are required. I feel the BBC have got this just about right in the case of Gaddafi.

  • Comment number 64.

    you did ok. it was as far as possible factual and so correct to show what you did. death is death.. we still have butchers shops down here that can turn a stomach. i do not discriminate on grounds of species and feel more for my lunch than the late dictator.

  • Comment number 65.

    There is report that Gaddafi begged to spare him life when been capture, that is total lie. He Gaddafi is a hero. The whole world will agree with me he is very smart not stupid. If he is coward and scare to die he already fled Libya before Tripoli collapse. He already expected and ready to die in Libya as hero not traitor. Those civilize leader call him mad dog only black dog and white dog knows dog. Those group of dog is attack dog.

  • Comment number 66.

    for the past 42 years Libyan living in fear under Goddafi rule. The Libyan will live in fear forever. Example during Goddafi time those who not support him will be penalize the same thing will happened to those who not support NTC at this time. if anyone said i support Goddafi at this time he or she will be penalize too. so where is democracy? lets be fair how many % of Libyan support NTC and how many % support Goddafi? Those NTC supporter and fighter not even know what is right and wrong they just join the crowd to show they are great later what do they get? all Libyan loose in this crisis only the west and NATO win.

  • Comment number 67.

    65 and 66 are a bit off subject. Please remember that the west "owed him a favour" for the support of terrorism- or (depends on your point of view) the liberation struggle. this is merely the return of the same with interest: quite un-islamic but very western.

    as i say; the libyan people will sort it out for themselves and will soon be part of the comunity of nations again. it is their call.

  • Comment number 68.

    i am vietnamese what ever happen in Libya is nothing to do with me but i like to ask all Libyan what is Goddafi wrong? He bring prosperity to all Libyan only small % living in fear under his rule. Why are you living in fear? you are right Goddafi is wrong or you are wrong than you fear of him? with or without Goddafi you still live in fear. Try to comment the NTC government see what will happened? you will know the same will happened. what the NTC will give you and what Goddafi guve you? as the time goes by all of you will regret why you against him. As a leader he have to do what he have to do to maintain peace and prosperity.No one is million of people he only penalize one or two the rest is enjoying so whats wrong with him?every leader in the world also penalize those who threaten their country so do Goddafi.

  • Comment number 69.

    67 he support terrorism the prove show he is cooperate with British and American to get rid of terrorism. NATO is also terrorize many weak country.Is NATO above the law? or UN above the law? i am very sure NATO and UN are very well understand the international law. The law said assassinate the leader of any country is an offence but they still do it. Dont forget NATO mandate is only protect civilian not to attack Goddafi regime again they do it.

  • Comment number 70.

    leowhuat you right The law said assassinate the leader of any country is an offence but still do it

  • Comment number 71.

    a number of these posts have presumed that the battlefield is an orderly place where considered decisions can be taken at leasure. i would say not. neither is a newsroom: both are highly pressured environments.

    you have to do the best you can with what you have.

    now, only in the hands of an expert and practiced shot is the AK47 accurate; what is more those people out there were in "fighting mode". add that to the hurried training and survival becomes a lottery.

    i can't see the "truth" ever emerging, only the historians will develop true hindsight and somehow historical accounts never seem to aggree with direct experience.

    we have the present luxury of a period of reflection on what is alledged to have happened. my problem is that i just can't understand all this fuss over one sad corpse picture. at least he looked at peace, that is the last mercy.

    if you, out there, feel so badly: agitate to ban the display and sale (in shops) of body parts of any species.

  • Comment number 72.

    '67. At 21:20 23rd Oct 2011, 407driver wrote:
    65 and 66 are a bit off subject.

    Shame when the dread OT can be invoked to curtail debate.

    However, as raised, I still don't seem to have an answer to my question on whether the author of this post has been accurate.

    Some posters suggest not.

    And if what they have shared is accurate, along with the many suggestions on how the option of graphic imagery can be engaged without any interference to viewing 'pleasure', then a senior BBC executive seems to be at best mistaken or at worst happy with the ongoing distractions.

  • Comment number 73.

    All this explanation does is reinforce the point that the relevant staff at the BBC need
    'compassion ' training' like, apparently, our nurses and doctors.

  • Comment number 74.

    I agree somewhat with Alan,

    I issued a complaint and this blog post was the response I received. I am disappointed because it shows no regret, no acknowledgement that a wrong was done and no understanding of the audience. I am really disappointed in the BBC, for the first time in a long while the BBC News team have lost my respect.

    The editors clearly don't respect the audience in this matter.

  • Comment number 75.

    I think the BBC acted with integrity in conveying this major news item to the world.
    However, I cannot understand why what is meant to be an impartial reporting of the news has for 95% time been embedded with the wild rampaging gangs with zero coverage from the legal administration`s side.
    Gadaffi had given Libya the highest standard of living in Africa, as well as the highest education standards & healthcare. The fact that UK-USA portray him as a tyrant does not measure up to objective scrutiny.
    Gadaffi was good for 90% of his people & he didn`t invade other countries. The fact that he was brutally murdered by the new regime should be a matter of grave concern. As UK-USA seem fairly relaxed about his summary execution it is gratifying that at least the UN is going to demand a formal explanation of Gadaffi`s death.
    The UN-UK-France-NTC should be indicted by UN for war crimes

  • Comment number 76.

    Prior to mention of Lockerbie - If you just look at the facts & ignore UK-USA propaganda/lies - There is virtually no evidence to implicate Megrahi.
    Only facts are that the USA had shot down a civilian jet liner from Iran a few months before (killing 290 civilians)

    Refer to = Suggestions of innocence


  • Comment number 77.

    # 76.
    Good for you "Sluiceterer".
    I know exactly where you're coming from; couldn't agree more.

  • Comment number 78.

    Showing Gadaffi's corpse around the world was important, if only to establish that he is actually dead. The footage was relevant and not as blood-curdling as some. However, the 'Politics Show' on Thursday played out with pictures a dead Gadaffi being dragged through the streets, accompanied by the music of programme guest, Adam Ant. Was that appropriate?

  • Comment number 79.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 80.

    At last - Some reporting of the facts.

    How does the fact that the NTC has executed prisoners sit with David Cameron? Does he still support these wild murdeer gangs & their type of new freedom?
    Liby was the most civilised country in Africa. Now it is a land where brutality is valued over civilisation.

    BBC 24-10-11:-
    The bodies of 53 Gaddafi loyalists have been found at a hotel in the Libyan city of Sirte after apparently being executed, a human rights group says.

  • Comment number 81.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 82.

    For a courageous and detailed report on Libya & Gaddafi, please see the reports of UK independent reporter, Lizzie Phelan.

  • Comment number 83.


    Thanks for the link. A great journalist. Someone who speeks the truth in a world of increasing ignorance & violence

  • Comment number 84.

    All fellow Libyan are you have a better life after Goddafi rule? dont you remember he bring you development and prosperity? all of you are living in the most develop country in Africa at the same time you are living in the highest standard living condition. All of this is Goddafi fight for you. He do risk his life to take over power from previous government. when he take over Libya is nothing compare to early of this year. Now what do you get and have? wake up fellow Libyan. if Libya have no oil will foreign power come to help you? they are not here to help they are here to rob your oil. For the remaining Goddafi i pray for Allah be with you always. dont give up Libya is yours

  • Comment number 85.

    the UN NATO are all well aware of international law. the mandate for NATO is to protect civilian in Libya not to attack Goddafi regime. NATO has gone beyond that and cost many lost of life. All of the NATO high ranking officer still great not been chagre by the ICC for war crime. is it they NATO, UN, UK, USA they set the law, they are the judge, they are the court? they always right. the invention of Iraq until today there is no prove of chemical weapon but no one been prosecute for war crime in Iraq

  • Comment number 86.

    I'm an American & normally appreciate the BBC policy re avoiding gruesome images & tabloid stuff. It was a bit of a shock to see those awful images of Gaddafi, a sorry dictator but still a human being.

  • Comment number 87.

    Seven billion and counting
    'Too poor to buy clothes, but we still want six children'

    On the general subject of Africa, may I please mention that this lead to an article concerning Zambia seems very demeaning to the family interviewed by Mr. Walsh. His interview in the video was quite respectful,I'm not faulting him, but I did not hear these words spoken by the Zambian family.What was stated in the interview was that they had difficulty purchasing clothes & had to look for things second hand.
    The quotation used as a lead into the article, if not actually spoken by the family, sounds as though they are purposely being depicted as brainless & irresponsible.Which would not be good journalism & has disturbingly racist overtones.
    Unless the family interviewed actually uttered those words, I think you might want to change that wording.

  • Comment number 88.

    My comment from yesterday still hasn't turned up.... so I shall try again.

    You got it wrong. This was barbaric, and demeaned the BBC

  • Comment number 89.

    I am English and find myself for the first time publicly complaining about an item of news on the BBC. The newsreels today, 25 Oct 11, have been discussing the burial of Gadaffi, and have persisted to the extent of insult to the Libyan Government, by questioning where Gadaffi has been buried. If the Libyan's had wanted to let everyone know where Gadaffi was buried they would have sent out a public invite. Please drop the hounding that appears to be going on from the BBC - you may be seen has being representative of the British people and I would hate us to be tarred with the same brush.

  • Comment number 90.

    My commend from yesterday also hasn't made it, but to summarise:

    The BBC has let me down for the first time in a long time, there is no sign of an acknowledgement that splashing the image all over the BBC website was wrong and may have caused offence. This posting is just attempting to whine about how difficult the job of an editor is, but it should have been evident to anyone who cared about their audience that it is inappropriate to post such grim pictures without adding a watershed mechanism (such as Channel4 News did on their website!).

    Children do use the BBC News website and even if that wasn't the case: I don't want to see those images either! You should give me a choice not force it down my throat and make me choke on it.

  • Comment number 91.

    For an excellent presentation re the significance of Gaddafi's death (assassination) & alleged need for regime change in Libya, please go to:

  • Comment number 92.

    What was so wrong about Gaddafi:
    1. Muammar Gaddafi seized power in 1969 in a bloodless coup by overthrowing King Idris of Libya. Idris had achieved power with British backing in 1949.
    2. According to the United Nations Development Programme, Libya ranked first in Africa (53 globally) on the Human Development Index – ahead of Saudi Arabia at 55, Iran at 70, South Africa at 73, Jordan at 82, Egypt at 101, Indonesia at 108, India at 119, Afghanistan at 155.
    3. Libyans received free housing, education, health care, substantial cash when they marry, & overseas education if they qualify.
    4. Libya has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa”. Program to Privatize Oil: On February 21, 2011, five days after the Arab Spring broke out in Libya, Qaddafi launched a new program to privatize all Libyan oil to every citizen of Libya, initially providing $21,000 to every Libyan from a total of $32,000,000,000 in the Year 2011, so that the health, education, transport, & some other ministries could be abolished and individual Libyans could use the profits of their own investments, including from oil ownership. Gaddafi said this was the best way to eliminate corruption, including the theft of libyan oil by foreign oil companies, and to decentralize governmental power.
    5. Great Man-Made River Project: The Great Man-Made River Project, begun in 1984 by Col. Gaddafi, has been called the 8th Wonder of the World. It supplies fresh water to the cities of Tripoli, Benghazi, Sirte... Foreign companies covet the fresh water.
    6. He wanted a United States of Africa to prevent western exploitation & imperialism (as will occur under Africom).
    Libyans will awaken from Gaddafi's assassination & hopefully prevent an era of imperial exploitation?
    Meanwhile a great leader gets dumped in the desert at an unknown location; evidently, this burial methodology will provide the best method for the investigation of his death.

  • Comment number 93.

    Last August, Aisha Gaddafi said that even if my father & my brothers are martyred, I will continue my fight against Islamic terrorists in Libya…Let the West and their mercenaries take note; Aisha Gaddafi will never surrender to their conspiracy of evil. Quitting isn't an option. Struggle will continue against monstrous US imperialism & unindicted war criminals like Hillary Clinton who laughed about my father's death: “We came, we saw, he died.”
    Mass graves can’t suppress war crimes - depleted uranium, thermobaric fuel-air bombs, white phosphorous (able to burn flesh to the bone)...not used by Gaddafi, but by the west, by NATO. Jamahiriya Loyalists won’t forgive or forget.
    On October 22, NATO said Operation Unified Protector will end October 31, but rest assured, NATO will target anyone believed to be Jamahiriya loyalists: In other words, Libyan Loyalists.
    On October 23, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi on Syria’s Arrai TV: “We continue our resistance to full revenge. I am Libyan. I will be free.” This while TNC officials said he's been captured in Zlitan.
    October 21, London Guardian's Julian Borger headlined, “ICC seeks forensic proof of death before withdrawing Gaddafi arrest warrant,” saying: It awaits confirmation that Gaddafi’s, in fact, dead.
    October 22, MSNBC said many others who discuss the purported death of Gaddafi smell a rat. Evidence so far consists of reports by serial liars, shaky videos & dubious photos. Moreover, the longer conflict persists, the more legendary Gaddafi becomes. Alive he symbolizes resistance. Dead he’s bigger than resistance, an inspiration for loyalists not to quit until Libya’s free from western imperialism.
    Green Book Decision No. 111 - everyone got free healthcare, education, training, rehabilitation, housing assistance, disability and old-age benefits, interest-free loans from Libya’s public bank, subsidies to study abroad, free electricity & water, generous stipends for newlyweds, & practically free gasoline.
    All of this is now gone, to be replaced by what, NATO? By what, great western leaders?

  • Comment number 94.

    One last comment: I'm no supporter of Gaddafi, but if a British or European leader had died at the hands of a lynch mob would we see graphic footage on the evening news? I'm not just singling out the BBC.Virtually every American news source had the same gruesome images, too.

  • Comment number 95.

    August 1988 Newsweek Vice President George H. W. Bush say ( i never apologize for the United State of America ) what is he mean?
    America never make mistake or America never accept mistake?
    Goddafi only make one mistake that is he is too soft hearted in the beginning of the of the revolution in Benghazi by not taking strong action against the Libyan traitor. If he take strong action against them than Libya will be save from the black and white dogs.

  • Comment number 96.

    may Allah be with Goddafi. Long live to Saif. sorry for Libyan. is too late to praise for Goddafi.Rest in peace. Traitor will pay for the price.

  • Comment number 97.

    I am under the impression that the "ideal" BBC TV news broadcast, for many of those who have commented, should be prefaced with this proud announcement: "This programme contains news story content that is entirely suitable for young children". For goodness sake, grow up! Of course it should contain NEWS - with all the interest, oddness, excitement, ugliness, shock and amazement that the word "news" should always evoke. If a seven-year-old child must now gauge a news story's suitability for me to watch before 9PM, then I guess it is time to switch to Al Jazeera English, or RT - in short, any channel whose editors still think news should be an adult programme subject, whatever time of day it is broadcast. That Death-of-Gaddafi story was NEWS, and a BIG news story at that. Plug your kids into their FaceTube accounts or let them watch mind-rotting cartoons in the other room so they can have no balanced understanding of real life until it is time for Newsround. Just let the rest of us watch some properly-made breaking news stories, made by adults for adults. And by the way, the statement about the BBC being, "The only UK broadcaster" in Sirte is perhaps technically correct but the BBC was not the only UK TV news ORGANISATION located there. Reuters and APTN - the two big TV news agencies headquartered in the UK - were both all over the story locally and the impression that the article above gives is that the news pictures we saw were actually gathered by the BBC news crew themselves. There is is no byline credit or any mention that the first gory mobile phone pictures that confirmed Gaddafi was really dead were actually obtained by AFP - the French news agency.

  • Comment number 98.

    '97. At 23:53 25th Oct 2011, Rex wrote:
    I am under the impression that the "ideal" BBC TV news broadcast, for many of those who have commented, should be prefaced with this proud announcement: "This programme contains news story content that is entirely suitable for young children". For goodness sake, grow up!

    Rather suspecting that many parents, sitting down in the middle of the day with young kids, would at the very least prefer, in their grown up way, a simple prior announcement/warning that there will be graphic imagery screened within a timeframe that allows them to decide to let the rest of 'you' bathe in whatever pictures of a dead person you wish, it being 'news'. Or that such things are placed after the watershed, as one presumed this was created and agreed necessary for some reason.

    Plus a recognition that the BBC website is not currently placed behind any parental online filters. Sticking Aunty in the same category as snuff merchants has a certain irony to it, mind.

    But your impression is an interesting way to spin that, for sure.

    I, however, am still awaiting clarification from BBC editorial that what is claimed happened actually happened (an interesting metaphor for most news reporting these days).

    So far, just a bunch of ranting in distraction.

    Or more weasel excuses...

    'Steve Herrmann, editor of the BBC News website - We are working on ways to ensure that we can give appropriate warnings on our website when we think images from the news are especially disturbing."

    Working on 'ways'. Bless.

    So it can be done, should have been done, but wasn't? And will be in future. This from the same public-sector mindsets that feel supposedly professionally-trained medical staff will in future be more likely to offer drinks to dehydrated patients if sent for more 'training'.

  • Comment number 99.

    Part 1 of 2
    I`ve listened to a BBC World Service programme from 21st October re:Gadaffi

    I am quite astounded by the apalling lack of objective argument from John Simpson, whom I had formerly admired. It seems he has had his memory banks wiped clean of intellect & just gave an intellectually light-weighted response that you would expect from a member of the NTC, Hilary Clinton, Liam Fox, David Cameron or some equally poorly advised commentator. The fact is that Libya was the country with highest standard of living, highest education & highest healthcare in Africa. The oil wealth was distributed amongst the people & the state. Education was free, food & energy cheap.

  • Comment number 100.

    Part 2 of 2
    In the past few months, International law has been cast asside (it no longer exists) & the UK-USA-France were given free range to bomb the country, resulting in the death of 1000`s of civilians. They also seem to have sanctioned (& certainly not condemned) the summary execution of Libya`s legitimate leader, Gadaffi.
    WHY? - The NTC is now imposing Sharia law & has executed hundreds of prisoners. The country has been bombed back to the dark ages and is now run by wild gangs. At last the UN has demanded an investigation.

    H.Clinton, D. Cameron, L.Fox, & N.Sarkozy should be indicted for war crimes. A civilised society, with decent values, would demand a long jail term for each of them. This would be a fairer justice than each of them sanctioned against the vast majority Libyan people. Gadaffi wanted equality & what was good for Africa. Mandela was agreat ally. The West, AGAIN, just wants to exploit Africa & its people. This must be stopped


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