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Old 8th October 2004, 08:46 AM   #1
Mycroft
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Ken Bigley beheaded

Quote:
British Hostage Beheaded in Iraq, Video Shows

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - British hostage Ken Bigley has been beheaded in Iraq, three weeks after he was kidnapped by militants demanding the release of women held by U.S.-led forces, a video seen by Reuters showed on Friday.

Guerrilla sources in the rebel-held city of Falluja said earlier that Bigley, who was being held by a militant group led by alleged al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed on Thursday afternoon in Latifiya, southwest of Baghdad.

In the video, seen by a Reuters witness in the office of a foreign news organization in Baghdad, the 62-year-old engineer was shown making a statement as six militants stood behind him, before one cut his head off with a knife.
I guess they decided his PR value was all used up.
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Old 8th October 2004, 02:15 PM   #2
E.J.Armstrong
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Quote:
originally posted by Mycroft
I guess they decided his PR value was all used up.
Your humanity is breathtaking in its compassion.
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Old 9th October 2004, 04:19 PM   #3
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Although abrupt I do think Mycroft makes a very valid point.

Certainly the UK media had decided that his kidnapping was no longer front-page news and not a top of the bulletin story on news programmes. And if the kidnappers were no longer getting publicity from holding him hostage then he had zero value to them.

Although no one but the kidnappers have any responsibility for his murder I do wonder if the media could help hostages or rather make hostage taking less "effective" for the kidnappers by being more moderate in their reporting?

Consider what generally happens when a hostage is first taken: front page after front-page, extended TV bulletins and special reports as the story breaks. However this level of coverage last at best 2 or 3 days before rapidly diminishes.

If we consider how this could be viewed by the kidnappers then it could be they (if the murders kidnap people primarily for publicity) see the over-the-top reporting in the first few days and think their actions have been "justified" (i.e. achieved their aims). But then as the publicity rapidly dies away the "value" of keeping a hostage alive diminishes, the hostage story just isn’t generating the same level of publicity. And then, as we all now too well know, it is just one last barbaric step to considering a hostage’s brutal murder as just another means to generate publicity.
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Old 9th October 2004, 11:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Darat
Although no one but the kidnappers have any responsibility for his murder I do wonder if the media could help hostages or rather make hostage taking less "effective" for the kidnappers by being more moderate in their reporting?
It's a tough call for the media.

It's clear that the people who do these kidnap/murders are seeking attention. A strong argument could be made that lives would be saved if the media didn't report these events, but that kind of censorship, even self-censorship, goes against our western traditions of free press.

I could see a policy of reporting minimal details. Withhold the victims name and refuse to air any video/audio released by the kidnappers, but report the details of the crime.
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Old 10th October 2004, 02:31 PM   #5
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Originally posted by E.J.Armstrong
Your humanity is breathtaking in its compassion.
Speaking of "humanity", I await your condemnation of the parasitic islamic culture that produces and celebrates these kinds of animals.
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Old 10th October 2004, 11:39 PM   #6
Darat
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mycroft
It's a tough call for the media.

It's clear that the people who do these kidnap/murders are seeking attention. A strong argument could be made that lives would be saved if the media didn't report these events, but that kind of censorship, even self-censorship, goes against our western traditions of free press.


I also don't think the right approach to try and help hostages in such circumstances is to censor the news but I think a change in how it is reported could help some of these victims.

Let's face it most media companies in the EU and the USA are commercially driven and therefore they use stories such as hostage takings to try and increase circulation or viewing and listening figures. This can lead to what is normally called "hysterical" reporting which I think is a misnomer since it is anything but hysteria; it's more then likely to be normally part of a very carefully planned campaign. Who can get the "exclusive" interview with the Mother or Brother or Sister or Wife or Husband becomes much more important then factual reporting of the story.

The only way I can think we can reduce this is to (as the public) not respond to these tactics, it's a fact that the media companies wouldn't act in this way unless they gained from it, which normally means an increase in circulation or viewing figures.

(For an example that at least newspapers do act in this way because it works (at least temporarily) for them can be seen from an instance in the UK. "The Sun" newspaper got it very wrong over its reporting of a tragic event that happened at a football ground see http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclop...ough-disaster. It cost them dearly in readership and therefore commercially and subsequently they changed their “editorial” stance.)

Quote:
Originally posted by Mycroft


I could see a policy of reporting minimal details. Withhold the victims name and refuse to air any video/audio released by the kidnappers, but report the details of the crime.
To me it's not the details it is the presentation, the style and the reasons behind why they decide to give certain stories more prominence then others. The people who can make the media change is the general public, if we turn away from these reports e.g. don’t pay for them then they will stop using these tactics.

(Again let me stress that the media aren't at all responsible for what the murderers actually do, only the murderers are responsible for that).
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Old 11th October 2004, 12:18 PM   #7
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Re: Ken Bigley beheaded

Quote:
Originally posted by Mycroft
I guess they decided his PR value was all used up.
Exactly. I can't condemn Bigley for doing all that begging because his situation was so awful that I can imagine he'd want to do anything he could, but it was depressing to see him grovelling for his life over and over when you knew his captors never had any intention of sparing him.
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