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Curtail gruesome crime-scene images on social media - Gordon Harrison

Published:Thursday | July 28, 2016 | 7:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Gordon Harrison

We saw them after three-year-old Nevalesia Campbell tragically lost her life in her St Ann community a few weeks ago. We saw them after the reported murder-suicide at the Tax Registration Number (TRN) office in downtown Kingston a few days later.

In fact, it's hard to navigate social networks without seeing them daily. Gory photos and videos from crime scenes across the island are becoming a staple on sites such as Facebook.

And it is a trend that needs to stop. At least that's the view of Children's Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison, who believes that the Government should do more to curtail the posting of such gruesome images on social media.

 

A GROWING TREND

 

"I think it's a conversation we should start having because as we have often said, regulation, laws, and policies have to reflect the needs of society. It is a growing trend whereby we have all of these inappropriate images that are sometimes posted online and publicised in a way that may cause undue pain to the family who may be grieving," she said.

"It (such gory content) is not something that people should be consuming, almost as a regular diet in terms of the types of things that we expose our children to, and persons, generally, in the country. I wouldn't call for legislation, per se, but certainly, I think that our policies should now take into consideration this new thrust, with a view to seeing how best we can regulate how persons post things and what they post," said the children's advocate.

Attorney-at-law Bert Samuels, however, believes that Jamaica is not in a position to curtail the issue from a legal perspective nor is it able to create sanctions that would punish persons who are found in breach.

"The first thing is that the law has always struggled with what is morally correct and whether the law should go into the area of regulating moral conduct. (For instance) there are some persons who are not amused to see pictures taken of a person in a coffin, and there are persons who feel that they should have a last memory of that. It's always going to be very difficult for you to say what is acceptable and what is not," the attorney-at law told The Gleaner.

"Can we afford to give the police extra work to do to capture the first post? Would it be the first posting or the subsequent posting? Social media is an unruly horse, which you try to tame, which is just the new frontier that legislation is lagging behind with. The better thing to do is to try to control it with public education, sensitising persons as to horrors relatives and the wider public go through," he said.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com