The Relevance of Disturbing Images

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The Relevance of Disturbing Images The media today is a very powerful tool of communication. It gives real exposure to mass audiences about what is right and wrong. With that comes the horrifying pictures of things such as earthquake aftermaths and disturbing videos such as the killing of Gaddafi. This poses the age-old debate of whether news organizations should publish graphic images, or err on the side of caution and withhold them. It is also questionable as to what is measured as disturbing. In this essay, I will explain what I feel is considered disturbing. I will also explain why we as citizens need to see such images, as well as why some do not.
There are many things that people find disturbing. According to an online dictionary, the definition of disturbing is “To break up or destroy the tranquility or settled state of: 2.To trouble emotionally or mentally; upset” (thefreedictionary.com). I sorted through countless images of what was considered disturbing and I have to say there were some pretty gruesome images. The images that I found to be most disturbing weren’t of murder victims and their autopsies. They weren’t of the devastations caused by natural occurrences, such as the earthquake in Haiti or the tsunami in Japan. Though those were still unsettling, the ones that got me were the pictures like the one of the toddler being forced to smoke a cigarette or the one of baby that had gotten brutally beaten to death. There was one image where a man is holding a mutilated 8 year old girl after the explosion of a bomb that was especially unnerving. The images that involve children are the ones that completely tear my soul apart.
Should news organizations be able to publish these kinds of images for the public to see? Photo journalist have certain requirements that must be honored. According to the National Press Photographers Association’s Code of Ethics, “Visual journalists and those who manage visual news productions are accountable for



Cited: "Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus." The Free Dictionary. Farlex, n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2012. . Ephron, Nora. “The Boston Photographs.” The McGraw-Hill Reader. Ed. Gilbert H. Muller. 11th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill Learning Solutions, 2011. 609-613. Print. "NPPA Code of Ethics." National Press Photographers Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2012. . Sontag, Susan. “Regarding the Torture of Others.” The McGraw-Hill Reader. Ed. Gilbert. H. Muller. 11th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill Learning Solutions, 2011. 598-608. Print

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