Media dilemma

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IF THE brutal daylight murder of a British soldier was intended to get maximum worldwide publicity for a terrorist cause then those responsible got it right (your report, 24 May). The worry now is: will there be copycat killings by other like-minded fanatics?

This poses a dreadful dilemma for the media. Should such horrific acts be covered in macabre detail, in line with the media’s responsibility to report events accurately and honestly as they happen?

Or should the media deny those who perpetrate such acts the oxygen of publicity they crave by restricting coverage?

There is no clear policy at present in this matter.

There is also the added problem that modern technology, including the use of mobile phones and cameras, is fast overtaking conventional news reporting, making any proposed regulation problematic.

Dennis Grattan



THIRTY years ago, Margaret Thatcher imposed a ban upon the broadcasting of interviews with members of Sinn Fein and the IRA, to “deny them the oxygen of publicity”.

Today our leading Islamic politician, Baroness Warsi, rightly says: “Broadcasters should not give airtime to extremist idiots and nutters who speak for no-one but themselves.”

I find the most heartening thing about this latest outrage is that our Muslim community has such a voice to condemn the killing and pledge support for the British way of life.

(Dr) John Cameron

St Andrews

WHILE I applaud the sentiments of the “Help for Heroes” street scene (cartoon, 24 May), I can’t help but question the apparent absence of other than white faces. The cartoon clearly showed representation of mothers, schoolchildren, business people, pensioners and teenagers but only one of the figures seems suggestive of the many ethnicities who are also British.

As a nation we are united in our condemnation of the despicable events of this week; outrage, sadness and a sense of unity in horror are felt not only by those of the ethnic group “white”. Or even “English” for that matter.

Susanne Powell