Dutch NPO Radio 1 launched a poll to ask whether sharing violent videos should be made illegal. They did so after the serious assault at the Bijlmer-Arena station in Amsterdam, and the images of which that were distributed online. Although the National Victim Support argues that the distribution of such videos, should be banned, it is absolutely shocking that a public broadcaster is starting the discussion to banning this. Even more shocking is the fact that 52% of voters voted ‘agree’ (when this article was written).
Sharing violent videos, while sometimes shocking and disturbing, is an important aspect of our society and of journalism. Banning those would not only affect the freedom of the press, but also create a false representation of the world around us. As a public broadcaster, NPO Radio 1 has a responsibility to be objective and transparent. Initiating a discussion to ban this kind of images is contrary to complying with that responsibility.
Sharing violent videos allows us to see what is really happening in the world. While it can be confronting, it also helps us to be aware of reality, and it keeps us informed on what is going on in our society. Forbidding the sharing of these images would shield us from the truth, and create a fake image of the world we live in.
In addition, these types of videos can contribute to the detection of perpetrators. In the case of the assault at Bijlmer-Arena station, six underage suspects were arrested, partly thanks to the distribution of the images. It is important that we strike a balance between respecting victims’ privacy, and ensuring justice. A ban on sharing violent videos would upset this balance, make it more difficult to track down perpetrators, and hold them accountable.
It is crucial to recognize the freedom of the press, and the importance of transparency. It is shocking that a public broadcaster such as NPO Radio 1 is starting the discussion to ban this type of content, and that so many people agree. Instead, let’s look for ways to strike a balance between privacy and informing the public, without compromising the freedom of the press, as well as transparency. Plus, without providing people a fake view of society because seeing the reality is ‘bad’, according to some.
What do you think? This is a great gray area to discuss among yourselves.
Source: on the back of De Dagelijkse Standaard, as discussed with Michael van der Galiën.