Thu | Dec 13, 2018

Proposed ban on crime-scene footage senseless

Published:Wednesday | September 27, 2017 | 12:00 AM


I read the Letter of the Day of Monday, September 25, titled 'Prosecute people for taking footage at crime scenes', and have several reactions.

First, it seems that whenever a Jamaican citizen finds someone else's behaviour a problem, the reaction is to suggest to prosecute or to ban it. This often comes with little by way of serious proposal concerning how such prosecution or ban would be put into effect.

Second, in this case, what would be prosecuted? It seems to be the act of creating footage at crime scenes. I have no idea how many crime scenes are created daily, but I imagine it's many. So, if a burglar goes into a citizen's house, and by whatever means he does not get away, and may even be injured or killed, the suggestion seems to be that the taking of pictures or videos of the crime scene should be banned and punished under the law. What evidence would the citizen have for any claim he or she may have for, say, damages, or insurance claims?

Third, who would be the agency prosecuting, and where would they need to be to tackle the many Jamaicans who decide they want to commit the act of creating crime-scene footage?

The writer's suggested solutions seem set to take us into a world of many and complicated consequences. Exhortation alone won't work in a society that has already decided it enjoys the freedom to take images and share them as it wishes.

We can start to think about whether certain images seem distasteful, but that is a far cry from the simple idea of prosecuting and banning.