Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Should Journalists Publish Images of Those Arrested (But Not Tried Yet)?

In recent years, journalists have worked with law enforcement to make public those who are arrested for a variety of offenses. News outlets across the country run mugshots online with names and lists of charges, and sometimes personal information.

The people in the images have not yet gone to trial, so they may be proven not guilty.

A news editor in Missouri recently wrote of such websites:

"Without proper context, the galleries serve as little more than a place for people to gawk at those who have been arrested. Many of those who are arrested need our community's help, not our ridicule."

Should journalists publish the information? It's real and true. But it is also very early in the legal process.

Would you publish the mugshots?

7 comments:

Hannah McComsey said...

Although the posting of mugshots occurs very early in the legal process, I believe that journalists have an unyielding responsibility to the public and that responsibility encompasses keeping the public accurately informed. I do not believe, however, that journalists should be able to post mugshots and names without correctly reporting and following up on the legal situation. Kovach and Rosenstiel state that journalism is a discipline of verification, and knowing this, journalists must diligently follow legal stories of those accused and keep the public informed of the trust surrounding the convictions or releases of these individuals.

Faissal Darwish said...

Whether or not the person arrested is guilty is not in the hands of journalists. Their job is to report such incidents regardless of how early it is in the legal process. To clarify, Kovach and Rosenstiel stated that one of journalism's principles is "loyalty to its citizens." Thus, I think journalists can publish information about those who get arrested in order to keep the public informed and updated about any new stories that arise.

In regards to mugshots, I think journalists publish these images due to one of the newsworthiness criteria: human interest. People, especially due to the advancement of technology, desire to have news presented to them both in print and in visuals in order for them to gain broader knowledge by making personal interpretations about those arrested. To reiterate, people can surprisingly tell a lot about an individual just by looking at a photo of them, and I think that's why journalists seem to publish mugshots.

Maryvic Perez said...

Personally, I do not think that Journalists should be exposing pictures of individuals that haven't even received a verdict. This misleads the receiver of the information, and it seems defamation then. Personally, I have known of cases where people have been all over the news and it was no where near court date. Afterwards, the newspapers looked bad as the final say was non-guilty.

Dan Bartels said...

I do not feel that it is right for ones picture or even their name to be presented in a news story if they have not been tried yet. This is because the way are legal system in this country is SUPPOSE TO work is that these people are just as innocent as everyone else however the way they are being presented makes the audience think that this person is already a criminal. It can not be news if the person arrested is still just as innocent as any other citizen. Also this confuses the audience because it may only be a small phrase or simple change of wording that shows that this person has not been convicted however the reader or listener may not pick up on that.

Dan O'Neill said...

Journalists, for the most part, should not publish certain personal information about a possible suspect in a case, regardless of if they are in prison being held or not. If they have not been tried, they are not convicted of a crime and therefore, should not have their name smeared. The best way to go about with this type of crime story, is to constantly refer to the suspect as "the alleged suspect", rather than saying the suspect, because it would give the impression that this person is already guilty, way before he/she has had a fair trial.

If it was up to me, too, it would be the same thing. If a person is totally convicted of a crime, then I would show their face on every page if I had to. However, if they are not tried and convicted of whatever such crime they are being accused of, then there's no reason to go ahead and shove this person off as something that they may not even be in the first place.

Ashley Rodriguez said...

I do not think that Journalists should publish photos of people arrested without the trial because that person may be innocent and having your picture up despite whether or not you get indicted ruins your image forever and so until someone is found guilty there should be no mugshot up.

Kira Runk said...

Journalists have the right to provide a story for the public, but providing mugshots of citizens who have not been on trial yet, in my opinion is wrong. This is one of the biggest legal system phrase "everyone is innocent until proven guilty". By releasing the mugshots to the public they already create a pre-existing opinion whether the suspect is guilty or innocent. Even after the trail has ended citizens still have their first opinions about the suspect from being shown mugshots.Suspects who are even proven guilty still get ridiculed by the public from past mugshots shown on the news.