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I  had another interesting ethics question last night.  A serious road traffic accident caused the closure of a major road.  Sadly, it turned out this morning that a pedestrian was killed and a driver has been arrested for causing death by dangerous driving.   In the end I decided not to send the photos to Live News - but not on an ethics ground but simply because they are unlikely to sell.

 

But, should I have taken the photos in the first place?  I was given a hard time by a police officer who clearly disproved of me being there.  He even told me I should not publish the photos until  a statement had been issued by the police.  - Which is of course not true.    I take the view that if the photographs are in the public interest they should be taken, with appropriate restraint.  The same issues arose over pictures of the Grenfell Tower.  

i guess it is really up to each photographer and the particular situation.

Major accident closes London Road

 

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Absolutely your call, and that of editors, not the police officer.

 

See the College of Policing (replaced ACPO on such matters) for the definitive guidance particularly with regard to reporting from the scene: https://www.app.college.police.uk/app-content/engagement-and-communication/media-relations/#reporting-from-a-scene

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Perhaps you should report the officer so that his knowledge of the law can be improved.

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1 hour ago, funkyworm said:

There was an issue here last year when a family found out that their cjhild had passed away in a road traffic accident through social media after passers by posted images before the police had the chance to go for the bad news conversation.

Freedom of the press or not... one can imagine that that is far from ideal.

 

Indeed far from ideal but all too inevitable with instant news, in fact not new as it has been an issue since we had radio and television reporting of breaking news. Should terror attacks, plane crashes or bridge collapses not be reported until all the victims' next of kin have been notified? That often takes days, even weeks.

 

At the end of the day I think the use of images or news is the editor's call not the photographer or reporter's decision, the editor is likely to have more time and possibly information from multiple sources to make the call whether to use a news item or not, and indeed how to use it. The photograph should however make an ethical decision about what to photograph or whether to help rather than take pictures.

Edited by Martin P Wilson
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There's a difference between sending it to your own news desk, which may well hold the images for a while, and an open news page like Alamy Live News.

Is it possible to set an embargo on Alamy Live News?

 

wim

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In the above photograph there is nothing which would relate to an alleged victim or an alleged perpetrator. In fact, apart from the vehicles and blue lights with people, uniformed or not, milling about, there is nothing to tell us what actually happened.

 

I believe it is not acceptable to try to take pictures of victims or perpetrators at the scene of an accident.

 

Allan

 

 

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As long as the deceased was not in view I absolutely would have submitted it. I wouldn't want to upset relatives but that just my ethics. Others may disagree.

Being arrested by a police officer is not something I'd like so I'd always comply with direction from them but I wouldn't allow deletion of images.

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Seeing mention of social media. You've got an image there which illustrates the scene well without details that might cause offence, and would pass through the hands of at least one decision maker before publication. Chances are somebody passing by with a mobile phone wouldn't have thought twice about taking a more graphic image and bypassing any ethics before sticking it out there for all to see. 

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How about the famous Viet Nam image of the girl running from napalm burns/contact? What are the ethics there?

A picture is worth a thousand words, and that image transmitted the horrors of war inflicted upon innocent victims. To take the shot was the photo-journalist’s job. Who are we to condemn? How do we know how the image will be used and in what context? Or what good/bad will come from the printing of it?

It was probably images like that that caused such a hue and cry by protesters of the war.

 

The printing of the image of the baby killed in the Oklahoma City bombing by two different photographers was directly responsible for thousands of dollars being donated to the victims from all over the world.

How to I know that? I read the letters that came from the donators. The mother of that child was able to quit her job and buy a new car and house. While she decried the image being out there, she didn’t turn down the money.

How are we supposed to know?

Betty

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I'm of the opinion that it's unethical not to capture images (legally) which depict newsworthy events. 

I recall an interview of Buhan Ozbilici, who captured the shots of the moments after the assassination of Russia's ambassador to Turkey and won the World Press Photo of the Year

Quote

“I was afraid, but I did not panic. I’m a journalist and I had to stand and do my job even if I got hit or killed. At that moment I tried to represent not just A.P. but all good independent journalists.” - Buhan Ozbilici

 

He apparently didn't hesitate for one second to pass it onto AP editors. 

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54 minutes ago, Brasilnut said:

I'm of the opinion that it's unethical not to capture images (legally) which depict newsworthy events. 

I recall an interview of Buhan Ozbilici, who captured the shots of the moments after the assassination of Russia's ambassador to Turkey and won the World Press Photo of the Year

 

He apparently didn't hesitate for one second to pass it onto AP editors. 

well deserved price, indeed. 

For taking such a shot one needs some huge cojones .... 

 

I have been in a shoot out once, back in the 1990's, and was petrified to the point not being able to  take any picture - even if I had a camera on me at the time. 

Don't think it would be any different for me today. 

 

To the OP - I do not see any unethical in the picture and definitely newsworthy. 

Edited by hdh
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Absolutely nothing wrong with the OP's shot - very newsworthy and should be made public.

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4 minutes ago, GS-Images said:

I know that no people can be identified but parts of cars can be, as can the location if it's somewhere you know, so I would hesitate to make it public until I heard from the media that relatives had been notified. It is a tough one though and I think in that sort of situation I might give the news team a call to ask for advice. Tough call. Once I knew any relatives of those involved had been informed, I would see no reason not to upload it.

 

Geoff's controversial post of the day now concludes.  :unsure: :blink: 

 

 

The registration number of the car involved is clearly visible too.

 

Mark

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IMHO you should have loaded it onto Live News - there's nothing gory in the image, it records the event without being overly sensational or intrusive.

As regards it's newsworthiness - you never can tell, so upload the images, and let the picture desks decide what they need.

Re the policeman - I had one in the early 1980's demand my films at a similar incident. I declined to hand them over and informed him that if he tried to take them without my consent, it would be considered an assault on his part. After more heated words he eventually climbed down and I went on my way. Looks as though standard Police training still doesn't cover the law regarding the rights of photography, a rather worrying issue -  in these days when  everyone and his dog carries a powerful camera in their mobile phone, you'd have thought it more important than it ever was?

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1 hour ago, GS-Images said:

 

Rather an over the top opinion Mr Nut.  :)   People risking being shot at? All this "I'll get my shot no matter what" is madness, in my opinion. When I go out of my way to get the shot, it means getting my shoes muddy or my trousers splashed by the sea. Nobody needs to risk their life and eternal emotional pain of all their friends and family in order to take a photo, no matter what's going on. It's irresponsible and probably just feels good for the adrenaline rush. You can report facts and take shots from a safer distance.

 

OP - Good shot, perfectly news worthy and no reason it wouldn't be used. I know that no people can be identified but parts of cars can be, as can the location if it's somewhere you know, so I would hesitate to make it public until I heard from the media that relatives had been notified. It is a tough one though and I think in that sort of situation I might give the news team a call to ask for advice. Tough call. Once I knew any relatives of those involved had been informed, I would see no reason not to upload it.

 

Geoff's controversial post of the day now concludes.  :unsure: :blink: 

 

 

What would Nightcrawler do? :ph34r:

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6 minutes ago, GS-Images said:

 

Nightcrawler always asks what I think, so he would do what I would do. He trusts me you see, Mr Nut.  :wacko: 

 

Hi Geoff,

I notice that you have posted a lot on the forums very recently. Is it too cold to go out down south?:D

 

Allan

 

 

Edited by Allan Bell
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