Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Media Censorship Social Networks Your Rights Online

An Argument For Not Taking Down Horrific Videos 400

A few days ago, we posted a story that asked whether posting horrific videos online served a legitimate journalistic purpose; some images that are shocking in their violence are now routinely available, including and especially the recent video of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh being burned alive. Matthew Ingram writes at GigaOm that, whatever you think of the motives or results of the traditional news media showing such videos or choosing not to, there's good reason for social media sites not to reflexively remove such content.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

An Argument For Not Taking Down Horrific Videos

Comments Filter:
  • I've got this (Score:4, Insightful)

    by One With Whisp ( 3931647 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @09:22PM (#49014273)

    An Argument For Not Taking Down Horrific Videos

    Freedom of speech.

    There done. Issue solved. Next?

    • Re:I've got this (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2015 @09:30PM (#49014327)

      Yep. If you start censoring them, then you are effectively doing the job of terrorists by trying to remove freedom.

      • Re:I've got this (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2015 @09:51PM (#49014487)

        The argument can also be had by not remove them you are doing the job of terrorists for them. They created the videos so people would see them and instil fear. There really is no win situation here, showing them gets them the media exposure they desire and not showing them restricts your freedom. It is a case of pick your poison.

        • Re:I've got this (Score:5, Insightful)

          by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @09:58PM (#49014527)

          However, it's also good for the public to have all the facts..and pictures can send a much more accurate description than dry, politically correct speech from some anchorman. Give them the media exposure.. It just shows how degenerate they are.

          • Re:I've got this (Score:5, Interesting)

            by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @10:04PM (#49014565)

            People are stupid. giving them all the facts in glorious detail only ever creates irrational fear and makes it easier for the government to bring in ridiculous anti terror laws while at the same time giving the evil doers everything they wanted. You really think they give a shit that people will see them as degenerate? They want fear and to express there dominance that they can do whatever they want, which by airing it everywhere they are granted. There really is no good solution here though I would err on the side of not showing it just too spite the perpetrators.

            • Re:I've got this (Score:4, Insightful)

              by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @10:06PM (#49014573)

              Keeping truth from the public only helps reinforce ignorance.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by bloodhawk ( 813939 )

                You don't have to keep truth from them. There is a massive difference between hiding the facts and simply not publically showing the videos. In the end the truth actually hurts the public self interests more, just watch as this is used as a reason more even more strict and invasive laws all with the support of the public because they are scared they might get burned alive too.

                • Re:I've got this (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by Kielistic ( 1273232 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @10:26PM (#49014669)

                  In the end the truth actually hurts the public self interests more

                  Said every corrupt dictator ever. You somehow think you're qualified to judge what "truth" the public can handle?

                  • In the end the truth actually hurts the public self interests more

                    Said every corrupt dictator ever. You somehow think you're qualified to judge what "truth" the public can handle?

                    No I am not, hence why I said they should get the truth. But the fact remains the truth is probably going to damage there freedom more than support it. People really are stupid and while everyone should be informed, you are delusional if you think that them being informed will make for a better rather than a worse situation.

                    • Re:I've got this (Score:4, Interesting)

                      by Kielistic ( 1273232 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @11:50PM (#49015077)

                      If truth "damages your freedom" then you've got bigger problems. Graphic content can be disturbing to people but it certainly doesn't damage their freedom (whatever that means). There's a reason there is such a thing as a "graphic content warning".

                      You then go on to explain that, yes, you do think you are qualified to judge what truth the public can handle. That line of thinking is how every dictatorship gets its hold.

              • Re:I've got this (Score:5, Interesting)

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 09, 2015 @02:43AM (#49015573)

                "ISIS militants have released video that they claim shows Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh being burned alive while locked in a cage. The horrific video has been released on the internet, and appears to be authentic.

                What "truth" is being kept from the public here? Nobody's saying "make something up and refuse to talk about the video or the murder of this prisoner of war." What "information," exactly, is being withheld from the public? What legitimate informational purpose is served by allowing a bunch of random shitheads around the world to watch another human being being literally roasted alive?

                If you want the "information" of understanding what burns look like on human flesh, there are plenty of existing medical texts available that don't require the sacrifice of ANOTHER human being. The argument that "not showing the video" equates to some sort of cover-up is nonsense. You can cover the video, without actually SHOWING the video.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            A description of the video contents is far more useful than actually showing them to people. If so many people hadn't witnessed 9/11 first hand we might not have gone ape shit over the whole thing and reacted more productively. Instead we attacked a country that had nothing to do with the plot, gave up a huge amount of civil liberties and tortured the shit out of people in order to satiate our blood lust.

            Just because we have the right to do something doesn't mean that we should do something.

            • If so many people hadn't witnessed 9/11 first hand we might not have gone ape shit over the whole thing and reacted more productively

              and on the other end of things, if no one saw it or witnessed it, we would have even more kooks out there claiming it never happened, or it was a planned demo, or (insert loose change "fact" here) than we already do. Heck there are people who to this day dont believe the holocaust was real. well, guess what, it was, and ive seen the gas chambers and crematoriums with my own eyes in germany, dachau to be specific.

        • by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @11:04PM (#49014867) Homepage Journal
          If terrorism is a way to guarantee people do your job for you, then perhaps we have discovered the secret eighth habit of highly effective managers?
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2015 @09:52PM (#49014491)

        I find it amusing how whenever the topic of free speech comes up here, or at Hacker News, or even at Reddit, many of the comments will be supportive of free speech, and against censorship. Yet when it comes to how such sites actually operate, we see the complete opposite. We see lots of censorship, and the active suppression of free speech.

        Granted, Slashdot isn't as bad as some sites. At least we can post as AC here, we generally don't see users banned completely (although there are apparently posting restrictions can be put in place), and we can optionally see all comments. But it's still quite distasteful to see so many good comments get modded down to -1 so often. Modding like that is a form of censorship, and it should have no place here.

        HN and Reddit are particularly bad. HN has its vague, extrajudicial "hellbanning", for example. Both sites suffer from an extreme self-righteousness complex, where members there are absolutely sure they're right, and will go so far as to silence anyone who disagrees with them. If you're lucky, they'll only accuse you of being "disingenuous" or "snarky". But most likely anyone who doesn't completely follow the flock will be abusively downvoted, if not banned.

        So I think it's quite sad when people here and at those other sites talk about how important free expression is, and how bad censorship is, yet they actively support such things when they go on at the sites that they frequent.

        • Users up/downmodding comments is not censorship. The posts are still there for everyone to read, which is not censorship. The rating gives an idea of what readers think about the comment, which is also free speech - but apparently you would like to censor / regulate that.

    • Re:I've got this (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Enry ( 630 ) <enry@nOSPAm.wayga.net> on Sunday February 08, 2015 @09:35PM (#49014373) Journal

      Just because you can say something doesn't mean you should.

      • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

        ..and who says what should and shouldn't be said?

        • Re:I've got this (Score:4, Insightful)

          by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @09:59PM (#49014533) Homepage Journal

          The person whose megaphone is being used.

          If you really want to turn yourself into ISIL's publicity arm, as Fox News has decided to do, then start your own website. Don't start whining about "Freedom of speech" when you've decided to use someone else's resources, be it Facebook, YouTube, or even Geocities, to host or distribute it, only to find they object to being used by a horrific terrorist organization.

      • Delusion (Score:4, Interesting)

        by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Monday February 09, 2015 @01:00AM (#49015323)

        Who is to be the arbiter of what should and should not be said? Do they know the motive of every statement a person makes every time they make them? How can anyone teach people bad arguments if they can't hear them? The answer to those questions are "Nobody", "Fat Chance", and "Impossible".

        If you fear debate and are so inadequate in your own opinion that you wish to censor, remain a hermit. Hide in your house and hire a good delivery person. The world is full of contrary opinions, and you can't possibly agree with them all.

        I have no issues with Freedom of Speech because I trust my own opinions, beliefs, and ability to debate. I can defend my opinion rationally and factually, even when it's not the popular argument. I am not always right, and I do make mistakes. That is how I improve myself and my opinions and I welcome debate so that I can improve.

        Believing that speech can be controlled and regulated is a delusion. From the times of Ancient Greece to present people have tried, all to no avail. You can only control your own ability to hear the arguments and defend your own position.

        In a rare moment of defending Fox "News" I believe that what they did was perfectly valid. They did not force anyone to watch the video. Anyone that didn't want to see it had ample opportunity to avoid the video. If you go out of your way to feel offended, then you deserve to be offended.

    • Re:I've got this (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Noah Haders ( 3621429 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @09:47PM (#49014465)

      Sorry to burst your tea party bubble, but freedom of speech only applies to government actions. Twitter is private property, and they'll censor your posts however they want to. Don't like it? Go make your own social medium.

      • If a user has strong feelings about how Twitter should behave, it is in his or her best interests to voice those opinions. While Twitter is a private business not legally bound by the First Amendment, if enough users voice a desire for Twitter to limit censorship or avoid it altogether, it may adopt such a policy.
      • "freedom of speech only applies to government actions."

        The Constitution (and its ammenments) apply to government actions, "freedom of speech" is a more general thing.

        But I do agree that a website can set its own rules, if news or social media sites don't want to have people post porn, violence or racist shit they don't have to accept everything that is uploaded. And if some islamic terror group wants to host their own blogs showing what they do to non-believers then they'll just have to put up with anti-isl

      • Sorry to burst your tea party bubble, but freedom of speech only applies to government actions.

        No, the First Amendment only applies to government actions. It may be hard for you to believe, but some of us find virtue in protecting freedom of speech even in cases where the law would let you get away with suppressing it.

        Dunno why you'd bring up the tea party or twitter, but it is interesting that this story and last week's twitter story [slashdot.org] both neglected to use the censorship icon.

    • Freedom of speech.
      There done. Issue solved. Next?

      Not so fast.

      Shouting out "Freedom of speech!" to abort all thought and argument about the meaning and limits of free speech is the oldest and most subtle enemy of free speech.

    • An Argument For Not Taking Down Horrific Videos

      Freedom of speech.

      There done. Issue solved. Next?

      Freedom of speech doesn't mean providing someone a soap box.

      • An Argument For Not Taking Down Horrific Videos

        Freedom of speech.

        There done. Issue solved. Next?

        Freedom of speech doesn't mean providing someone a soap box.

        True, but it does mean that you have a right to provide someone a soapbox regardless of how much someone else might not want to hear them.

    • I think when 'freedom of speech' is used to justify the public dissemination of videos of a terrified human being being burned alive in a cage, it deserves to be examined a bit more closely. I don't think you've 'got this' at all.

      And of course, terrorists aren't trying to remove freedom - they're trying to distract you from the fact that there's only actually a small number of them in a country quite a long way away. They're trying to terrify you. Which, if you keep on allowing their videos to be kept onlin

    • by jrumney ( 197329 )

      So the freedom of speech of the terrorists who made those videos trumps the right to privacy of the families of the victims now?

      America has become very screwed up since 9/11 in more ways than one.

    • This isn't a free speech issue, since this isn't the government censoring anything, but rather privately-owned news and video sites deciding not to host such videos.

    • This is an easy one. You can't remove them, they will just be uploaded again and again. What you can do is simply not watch or otherwise acknowledge their existence at all and in doing so you strip the power and motive as well to make such crap. There will always be those that seek out and enjoy this kind of imagery, they need help. But they are in the small minority. I have not seen any of the beheadings nor the pilot being burned and have managed to miss two girls one cup to boot! I have far better
    • Re:I've got this (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cowwoc2001 ( 976892 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @11:57PM (#49015111)

      An Argument For Not Taking Down Horrific Videos

      Freedom of speech.

      There done. Issue solved. Next?

      Nonsense.

      Freedom of Speech for own own citizens is one thing. Freedom of Speech for people who are unquestionably trying to wipe out our citizens is another matter. One of the very first thing you do during a war is take out the enemy's communication capabilities. This is no different.

      What is gained by enabling them to spread their propaganda? Why fight a battle with our hands tied behind our backs?

    • An Argument For Not Taking Down Horrific Videos

      Freedom of speech.

      There done. Issue solved. Next?

      Sadly, no, because freedom of speech simply means social media sites (or anyone else) are allowed to host horrific videos, not that they should. Social media sites and other institutions are not public but private entities, and as such are not required to offer free speech for their users. Perhaps they should be considered semi-public, and forced to play by rules somewhere between the government and mere humans

    • Just because you have the freedom to say something, doesn't mean it is a good idea to do so.
      Sometimes it is better to keep your mouth shut.

      The risk of showing such videos may be counter effective to the point you want to bring across. You may want to explain how horrific war is, but the effect may be desensitizing people to such images, so when the next war is proposed the fact such things can happen just doesn't enter as being as bad as it actually is.
      Then you have gawkers who are less interested in the s

  • About Time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Somewhere, hopefully in Nirvana, a self-immolating monks nods in approval.

  • by Rick in China ( 2934527 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @09:36PM (#49014381)

    I'm not entirely against showing these type of images or media, but I am absolutely of the mind that the publisher must censor the individual's identification - such as not presenting their name, blurring face or other identifying features, in any sort of media. Media would most definitely (in accordance with the law..) censor it's own citizens being murdered without approval from the deceased's family or next of kin, why should that common sense respect not apply to foreigners?

    That being said, Fox didn't publish this video for any "journalistic integrity" or whatever nonsense reason they claimed - but for clickbait/viewer trash to bump their numbers. I, for one, haven't seen the video - and don't plan on seeing it, and Fuck Fox News for using journalistic integrity as a means of justifying something like this.

    • "That being said, Fox didn't..." You then drop into spouting partisan word count as if it were fact.
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      I'm not entirely against showing these type of images or media, but I am absolutely of the mind that the publisher must censor the individual's identification

      And how would you meaningfully do that, when every other media is publishing the same story naming the pilot being burned alive? Add 2+2. For example I saw the video of the execution - murder is too kind a word - of Ahmed Merabet [independent.co.uk], how could you not end up knowing who he is? While I sure you mean well, I think you're asking for something that isn't practically possible.

      • re: "isn't practically possible"

        That may be the case - and social media/the internet at large may need to be part of a broader solution to help provide privacy for those individuals who are subject to this type of horror, but for an American news agency or even social media site to 'allow' these types of things, I'm saying, they should be forced to, by law, censor the individuals just as they would an American. Sure, there will still be lots of people who get ahold of an uncensored version or whatever -- bu

  • Attention: Media (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @09:44PM (#49014431) Journal
    More sex, less violence please.
  • Free Speech or Die (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zapadnik ( 2965889 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @09:51PM (#49014485)

    As bad as these videos are, censorship is a vastly greater evil. Who decides what is censored and what is not? Who appoints the censors? This is a problem which even the Romans wrestled with.

    Don't think censorship is bad? if your are:

    • A Modern Liberal/Progressive - do you want social conservatives to be able to censor your speech?
    • A Classic Liberal/Constitutional Conservative - do you want the neo-Marxists to be able to censor your speech?
    • A scientist - do you want an Intelligent Designer to be able to censor your speech?
    • Religious - do you want anti-theists to be able to censor your speech?
    • An Israel - do you want the jihadis to be able to censor you speech?
    • A Muslim - do you want the Jews to be able to censor your speech?
    • An atheist - do you want the Islamic State/Caliphate to be able to censor your speech?
    • An American - do you want the North Koreans to be able to censor your speech?
    • Chinese - do you want the Americans to be able to censor your speech?

    You all get the picture. Censorship is bad. In the formerly-Free West we understood that censorship was worse than most bad speech. But now there are very, very many who believe so fervently in their cause that they are willing to silence all dissenting voices - this is a great regression in the World (but unfortunately, even Slashdotters ardently apply censorship through their mod points [not modding up posts they like, but deliberately trying to silence posts they don't agree with]).

    The true solution to Bad Speech is *more speech*. This is what Free Speech is all about - let ideas compete in the open arena of public discourse - no matter how offensive and uncomfortable for those with political, religious or financial power.

    Only authoritarians or totalitarians which to censor the speech of others:

    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - Evelyn Beatrice Hall (often misattributed to Voltaire)

    This is the principle that should reign - and the US 1st Amendment to the Constitution is brilliant in allowing Free Speech to flourish. Too bad the powers in the US, EU and UN (eg. the disgusting UN HRC 16/18) are working to destroy Free Speech criticism of the powerful - and ensuring that you don't get a vote or say in the matter.

    There is no substitute for Liberty!

  • Anything else sugar-coats the truth. You can't have real progress in anything without knowing the truth. As the old saying goes, know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

  • Waterboarding.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kenwd0elq ( 985465 ) <kenwd0elq@engineer.com> on Sunday February 08, 2015 @09:54PM (#49014501)

    A photo of the incineration of the Jordanian pilot, with the legend

    "Waterboarding no longer bothers me."

    Warning: Graphic Photo, and general political incorrectness
    http://www.theospark.net/2015/... [theospark.net]

  • Oddly enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sunking2 ( 521698 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @10:02PM (#49014545)
    I was appalled without having to see it. Visual media was not needed. The fact that we lie in a society that seems to need to have it's shock porn is disturbing. And it wasn't censored, privately held media/news companies decided not to show it.
  • There are sites that will leave the content up. liveleak.com comes to mind. It just happens that the ever popular youtube isn't one of them. Vote with your mouse clicks if you take issue with it.
  • As someone who has managed to avoid watching the video of the Jordanian pilot being intentionally burned to death, I thought I would share my approach, which didn't involve removing it from the internet. I did not click, and I don't watch Fox News. Actually, I don't watch any mainstream TV news; I listen to the radio and read online sites run by newspapers (the Guardian, mainly) and other organizations (Pro Publica).

    This has saved me enormous amounts of time, and spared me from having to tut-tut when TV n

  • If this article is supposed to be an argument for publishing it is unconvincing. Note I am not saying that publishing is wrong, just that this would lose at debate club.

    Why? He has duty to be informed backwards. We hardly need to be more informed about the horrors perpetrated by ISIS. Our networks have no problem publishing that stuff 24 hours a day. If we were talking the duty to be informed seriously we need to be informed about the horrors WE are perpetrating, but FOX certainly isn't interested in that.

  • .....but the freaking out over one Jordanian pilot takes the cake. If you don't remember the phosphorous dumped on Fallujah, how about the tons of napalm dropped over Vietnam?

    • Last time I checked it was the Jordanians that are flipping out of the Jordanian pilot. Obama could barely stifle his yawn, and took the opportunity to blame Americans for it.
  • People need to know why we are using drones on terrorists....er freedom fighters.

    Regardless facts and the truth trump the need to protect the fainting goats of the human species from their tendency to swoon.

  • Being free citizens isn't supposed to be comfortable. It involves hard choices about serious issues. To pre-filter the information provided to citizens based on what *you* think they can handle is as patronizing as it is misguided.

    As Twain once said something like, "censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak because a baby can't chew it."

    Is it unpleasant? Yes. If you can't bear to watch it, don't watch it. But understand that it will take people who are willing to see it for what it is to really u

  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Monday February 09, 2015 @12:13AM (#49015179)

    ie, allow people to see them if they seek them out, but never auto-play them (!!) and never show them unsolicited.

    barely mention it on the news and only provide a link to where to get the video, and with suitable warnings.

    that seems to be a reasonable compromise between giving the bad guys an easy outlet for their sick deeds - vs allowing freedom of speech. suppressing them entirely is wrong, but parading the videos is also wrong.

You do not have mail.

Working...