28-Mar-2006

Disturbing Images

I have always been a fan of horror movies. Throw more blood and gore at me and I lap it all up happily on TV. However, real life horror is a different story and I can usually watch about ten minutes of live footage on any tragedy – 9/11, Iraqi war, Tsunami, Kashmir earthquake- before I start feeling depressed. I do however believe that a reasonable coverage of the horror experienced by people in such events is helpful . Sometimes it brings into sharp focus the human cost of man-made disasters and hopefully will influence people to stop the nonsense. At other times, in case of natural disasters, the ten minutes of footage probably made someone contribute to rebuilding and rehabilitation.

What about personal tragedies though? This morning, I was having breakfast and watching the news, when the reporter told the story of five college girls who drowned at Hoggenakkal Falls. Then suddenly there were the bloated faces of two of those girls floating underwater with their hair streaming around their faces. What was till then an impersonal story giving you some sound advice about being careful around water bodies, became a full-fledged invasion of privacy in a personal tragedy. Who benefits by watching this footage? The parents of the girls must be distraught enough without having the pictures being flashed on National TV. They certainly deserve privacy in their moment of grief. The viewer does not need these disturbing pictures thrown at them. For one, everyday someone is dying and the collective effect of watching all of this is not going to make anyone’s day better. For another, what does the viewer get out of this footage except some voyeuristic pleasure, if you are the type?

Can anyone else think of a reason to show such footage?

1 comment:

Ram said...

Hi Anita:

Here's one reason I can think of, though I am not condoning any invasion of privacy.

If you hadn't been jarred by those pictures, you wouldn't have written about it in this blog, and the rest of us wouldn't had read about the tragedy, we wouldn't have resolved to be more cautious around water bodies.

So it does serve a small purpose, but perhaps doesn't justify smearing those pics across the TV screen.

Ram