November 13, 2008

Covering bombers: An Indonesian Perspective

The latest issue of Asia Media has a story form the Jakarta Post complaining about how the 2002 Bali bombers got way too much unfettered publicity from Indonesian media outlets.

The terrorists were executed last weekend.

The lead up to their execution was a series of interviews that were described more as terrorist propaganda instead of a serious look at what makes a terrorist.

"Even on death row, they continued to make news, obviously aided by the
prison authorities. There were the media interviews they gave, always
using the opportunity to justify their acts in the name of Islam and
not for once showing any sign of regret; one of them even got married
while on death row; and they were constantly in contact with the
outside world with easy access to telephones and the Internet. So much
for Indonesia's high security prison system."

The story, Good Riddance, criticized the Indonesian media, especially television, for seeming to "be a willing partner throughout this whole spectacle, especially during
the last four weeks while the authorities hesitated in carrying out the
execution order."

CNN International (I don't know about the US version) is also airing interviews with the bombers. The teasers show nothing but unrepentant killers who hide behind religion to justify their actions.

So, the $64,000 Question is: At what point should journalists pull the plug on these kinds on interviews?

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