Was the MH17 crash media coverage appropriate?

We asked our panel members what they thought about the news coverage of the tragic MH17 crash. Earlier this week Ofcom received 110 complaints about a Sky News journalist reporting at the scene of the crash, rummaging through the crash victims personal belongs. This seemed to bring to light the fine line between keeping people informed, whilst staying respectful to the deceased and their families.

Our panel members felt that such tragic news stories are often very hard to cover appropriately. “These are very difficult circumstances.” (Nick, Reading, 42) Many felt that there has been the right amount of coverage on the news about the tragedy, however they felt that some of the more graphic footage shown was unnecessary and could be very upsetting to the victims family. “The media coverage is a little bit intrusive.” (Christopher, Westcliff on sea, 34)

Some of the panel members felt that although it was good that the news team were trying to get as much information as possible for the viewers they needed to be a little more sensitive. They felt that the pictures of bodies was a step too far and were just used as shock factor without consideration for the victims grieving families.

The majority of the panel were in agreement that news teams needed to try and cover the story in a respectful manner. “Even though it’s a news story you have to remember that they are real people and real families.” (Ben, Dronfield, 31) Many felt that the graphic content seen in many news stories was disrespectful and insensitive.

A smaller number of the panel felt that media coverage has been appropriate. “There has been a lot of media coverage which isn’t surprising as it is a major tragedy.” (Faridah, 47, Swansea)  They felt that the media had successfully tried to keep the public up to date and informed with the latest news. Isobel from Lancaster felt that the shocking images that many of our panel felt were inappropriate were actually necessary. “It’s images like that that cause people to take action.”