Good and bad of crime reporting
The Editor, Sir:
Regarding your story of March 9 titled: 'Killing highlights Ocho Rios transport woes', I was happy to see that The Gleaner highlighted the severity of the issue faced by Jamaican families as they try to go about ensuring that their children have access to something as basic as education.
Your story about the tragedy that has rocked this family that has long been a pillar in the Ocho Rios community was deservedly placed as a lead story. It was clear that the writer was careful to report on what appeared to be truth-based and seemingly avoided much speculation that often tends to surround conflicts such as this.
It is crucial that news agencies endeavour to report the finer details of these matters. These details help solidify the story, prevent further confusion and provide a record for the public and perhaps even legal entities. However, I am deeply concerned that your publication of the identity of the family already brutalised by the assailants will make them all the more exposed and vulnerable. I suggest that it would have been far more responsible to consider the safety of the family before confirming their identifies to the masses, including the band of 'Mad Dawgs' and 'Evil Heads' and any of their pack who, I understand, are now threatening retaliation and issuing further death threats.
I don't want to lose sight of the fact that your story is exposing a serious threat to Jamaicans and the failure of the paid police force to provide some basic protection. However, I am concerned that the family's safety is being further compromised by exposing their identity and the details of where the schoolgirl can be found during the day.
I look forward to seeing how your paper will continue to monitor the development of this crisis and the extent to which you will publicly scrutinise and hold the authorities responsible for delivering the long overdue protection and support that its constituents have been literally dying for.
I am, etc.,