Should the news media show graphic images of the war in Ukraine?

Graphic photos and videos of the war in Ukraine are disturbing and can be insensitive to the victims and their families, but news organizations have a responsibility to show just how ugly and horrifying the reality of war is. Complicating the decision is the fact that, even if news organizations choose not to show such images, they are likely to appear on social media sites.

Here are three opinions from students in a Media and Democracy course at St. Bonaventure University.

Thomas Putman:

News organizations showing graphic photos and videos of the war in Ukraine can cause some viewers to feel uncomfortable, but ultimately the news outlets are trying to show the horrific trauma that the war in Ukraine is bringing. The graphic photos help the viewers understand the extremity of the war in Ukraine.

Taking account of the families of the casualties should be important to the media. Blurring out the faces of the victims to help hide the victim’s identity would allow the viewers to see how horrifying and ugly the reality of war is, while respecting the peace of the deceased and their families.

Social media is where these photos and videos would be displayed if the media doesn’t share these videos, so they would eventually reach the public anyway. It is important that the news outlets can show these graphic photos and videos, as without them, the viewers wouldn’t understand the extremity of the war.

Nick Rizzo:

Videos and pictures of what is happening in Ukraine are important to have on our media outlets in general. They give people a real visual of how bad the war really is. This form of news not only keeps us well informed, as well as Russians who are blinded by what Putin is trying to tell them is going on. For example, there have been many instances of Putin lying. He had been lying about the actual invasion itself because the decision had already been made, as well as saying they do not trust western leaders.

When news outlets do show these videos and pictures, they have warnings in place to explain what they are about to show may be too graphic for some people. This is effective enough so if someone only wants to hear about the war and chooses not to watch they still get important details.

These videos could be insensitive to the victims and families. However, if the images and videos were posted on social media, they could have been posted by someone first who wanted It out there to begin with. This should be done to an extent where people who want to find out about these things have access to them, and the ones who don’t want to see them are not necessarily forced to either.

Nic Rohloff:

News organizations have been showing photos and videos from the ongoing battles in Ukraine, but should they?

A recent ABC News broadcast showed video of parents bringing an 18-month-old child into the hospital. The kid unfortunately passed away, and the media captured the parents’ reaction. I sat and thought whether this was truly necessary.

On one hand, the media is displaying how brutal this war is to the public. On the other hand, ABC just broadcast a very personal moment to the world.

This is a double-edged sword situation. The public does need to know how destructive this war is on the people of Ukraine. If people see the atrocities that are taking place, the humanity in people will pull through. That video could have sparked a movement across the globe to try to stop the ongoing violence.

Looking through the parents’ lens, I can’t imagine them wanting that video sprouting across the world. I feel for their loss, and what they had to go through is truly terrible.

Nevertheless, the world needs to know what is happening. Using graphic photos and videos is better than using nothing.

Categories: Jandoli Institute, Media, Politics

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