Aggregated news story: At what point do you have the obligation to put your camera down?


In hopes to capture a compelling story journalist are constantly being put into situations that can question their morals and ethics. It is critical for reporters to ensure they keep their journalistic integrity but at what point should a journalist intervene. There have been a number of cases where journalists have had an opportunity to assist individuals in need but rather captured the suffering instead.

In March 1993, issues of ethical concern occurred when Kevin Carter captured a thought provoking and shocking image of a vulture preying upon an emaciated Sudanese toddler near the village of Ayod. This photo was sold to the New York Times and brought exposure to the artist and ethical issues concerning the photography. Carter came under harsh criticism for not assisting the child. The haunting circumstances relating to this photograph pushed the artist to take his own life.

Struggle Street is an SBS program that received negative response from the public due to the harmful effect it had on participants. The issue of ethics occurs when viewers watched in horror as Billie-Jo Wilkie, in the final stages of pregnancy, smoked cigarettes and did pot. As the producers and reporters watched Billie-Jo Wilkie smoked a homemade bong they were capitalising on the controversial act rather than intervening.

The intervene dilemma has been a controversial issue for a number of years. When a report on a drug addicted mother hit the internet the issue of ethics was put to the public once again. The aim of this story was to show how drug addiction can dictate somebodies life and the effect they have on their children. The reporter discovered the daughter had to brush her teeth she shared with her mother who is HIV positive and who also has bleeding gums. Another issue that occurred was the daughter was forced to sleep on a mattress wet with urine and semen and was abused frequently. When facing the issue of child abuse and unethical behaviour should the journalist have intervened? At what point do you have the obligation to put your camera down?


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