Social Question

NerdyKeith's avatar

Should the news media start showing photographs of the attackers rather than the victims?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5479points) May 11th, 2016

I read an interesting comment on Pink News in response to an article about a young gay man who was brutally beaten by an homophobic attacker. There where no photographs of the attacker but there are photographs of the victim and showing how badly beaten he was.

But this makes me wonder, should the media name and shame the attackers? Now I know obviously there are exceptions to this when the media will show photographs of attacks. But this is usually for more extreme cases (such as cases of terrorists e.g. Anders Brevik and Bin Ladin etc).

But for the everyday violent aggressor (be they motivated by homophobia, sexism or racism); should they not be publicly shamed with a photograph on a news website or paper?

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7 Answers

chyna's avatar

No. As a matter of fact, news stations are getting away from showing the attacker or using their name as it just gives them the glory they are seeking. Very seldom does it shame them.

canidmajor's avatar

What @chyna said. Someone who would do this would be lauded by those of a like mind.

In the U.S., the attacker’s face is often showed after s/he has been convicted, otherwise defense could claim that the jury was prejudiced by news coverage. Also, the victim is not usually shown without permission, as it can lead to enormous judgments in civil suits.
The article you linked speaks to an event in the UK, I can’t speak to that.

ibstubro's avatar

Oftentimes it’s easier to show the accused attacker, especially if there are mug shots available.
If they are guilty, the attacker will likely (if not immediately, then eventually) glory in the attention and notoriety.
If the alleged attacker is innocent, why should they be pictured?

The one given in the equation is the victim. If the victim is willing to be pictured, then their ID and the extent of the damage is really the only fact we have until the trial.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@chyna has a good point.

besides, in the US at least, journalists tend to not want to identify the attacker until / unless they person is found guilty. Otherwise they can be sued for defamation or libel or some such crime.

This is not always followed – suspects are occasionally named – but not as often as they ought to be.

The problem is: Suppose TV news shows the supposed attacker, and the person is either actually innocent of the crime, or is found innocent in a court. The TV news report has already ruined the guy’s reputation. What’s his recourse?

stanleybmanly's avatar

the bandit got it right. The poor victim can be photographed and splashed ad nauseum in the tabloids because his injuries are an established fact. The alleged attacker is presumed innocent until convicted.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

In Sweden, by law, no identifiers of the accused are published until the suspect is convicted for the very reason @elbanditoroso states in his last paragraph above.. As frustrating as this may be to victims and a portion of the public, I agree with the policy. What if this person didn’t do it? I think we all know how fallable cops are and the pressure they are under to solve the most heinous crimes quickly.

Pandora's avatar

Yeah, posting this idiots face didn’t help. He just got more famous and thrives on it. He thinks he’s untouchable.

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