Sensationalist images on blogs

I grew up accustomed to censorship in the media, where polite reminders would be given when the evening news decided to show (rare) images of dead people on tv. As a result, any time I come across a grotesque picture on a blog by accident (I greatly appreciate bloggers who provide warnings of what is to come so I can leave beforehand), I feel physically sick. I’m referring to pictures of people who were killed and tossed into mass graves, people who were recently found suffocated, the woman in Lagos who was killed by her husband, and most recently the guy who committed suicide, pictures that have circulated this year, which thankfully I have avoided seeing for the most part.

I understand that a picture is worth a thousand words and I know for some there’s a fascination or curiosity about seeing the aftermath of a tragedy but sometimes I question the value of a sensationalist picture over the words, especially on some blogs. If you’re a news blog, you may have a more legitimate claim to sharing such graphic images (please include a disclaimer though!), but a personal blog or other type of blogs passing on such images? I don’t know. If the message one is trying to convey is We need to stop spousal abuse, I’m not sure that seeing a dead victim would stop someone bent on harming his or her partner from doing it. Instead I’d rather read about the options available to a couple going through a rough time. I regularly question the point of splashing a horrific picture on a blog along with “what a shame” comments.

I don’t know much about censorship in Nigerian media, but I remember my trip to Nigeria in 1994 when a man who I believe had been found guilty of stealing was paraded through the streets completely naked, with people following behind him, and possibly flogging him. You’d have to look very hard to see that here.

But maybe I’m just a sensitive baby (I do get impacted easily by things like death): I’ll just look into setting a PG-13 filter on my computer so that graphic images are automatically blocked and replaced by pictures of cute babies.

6 thoughts on “Sensationalist images on blogs

  1. I understand where you're coming from. I guess the only justification i can give is that sometimes people need to see things to understand the gravity of the situation like the videos that have been going around about this or that person being burned alive for stealing or the uniben lesbian scandal. Some people (a lot of people actually) either don't believe how bad things are until they see them with their own eyes or worse experience them.

    But there are also some people who just go about with these disturbing pix and vids for no real good reason at all.

    • Hmm, that's a good point, that idea of "I'll believe it when I see it." I didn't think of that.

      Regarding your last point I definitely think some put up disturbing images on their blogs just to attract people to their blog.

  2. I totally agree with you

    I find some images really disturbing and I think some images are often used wrongly
    For example, the lesbian video – was that to publicize the abuse being committed or was it to titillate the viewers??
    As for the abuse pictures…all I could think about was that one day – the murdered woman's child could come across the pictures online

    • You're absolutely right on both counts, Naijamum…thank you for commenting.

      The thought of the woman's child one day seeing the pictures is chilling, and you make a really good point about whether the images or videos shared actually have the impact they are meant to have…it's interesting to think about the motive or intent of the person posting the photo or video.

  3. hmm food for thought. i also get moved and disturbed by some images..i'll rather now see. lest i am scared for life.

    I agree some put it such images just for the attention and some to show the gravity of issues. whaever your reason, please give ur readers a headsup!

    The one that even annoys me is people putting disgusting photos on blackberry groups, all in the name of fun and jokes… phew!

    GNG you will teach me how to set PG13-filter on my lappy. :)

  4. Lol at you last paragraph. I can relate though. Whenever I come across a picture that is too much to take on the web, I try to get away from it as quickly as possible because those things can stick. I remember last year when the earthquake in Haiti happened, I didn't watch the newscasts about it for some days because I didn't want to have to look at it. Still for news, it has some value. But others who post it for shock value, not so much. Especially when it's a widely known incident that the news outlets have already reported.

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