Fine Gael Louth TD, Peter Fitzpatrick, has criticised the publication of photographs of one of the victims of this weekend’s shooting in Louth by a national newspaper. Deputy Fitzpatrick said that pictures of the female victim, taken when she was aged under 18, have placed additional stress on the young woman’s family.
“This weekend’s shooting in Dundalk, in which a 35-year-old man was killed, has left the local community utterly shocked and bewildered that such an attack could take place. A number of families have been left devastated by the incident, and are understandably struggling to come to terms with what has happened.
“This terrible tragedy has not been made any easier by the fact that a national newspaper has published pictures of the young woman injured in the attack; pictures which were taken when she was aged under 18.
“The publication of these photos has caused great upset on the part of the young woman’s family, who are at her bedside while she is being treated in hospital for her injures. They have enough to worry about and to deal with without having their stress compounded by the inappropriate and insensitive publication of these photos.
“The media has an essential role to play in society. However, I think it is time we had a proper debate about where and when newspapers and broadcasters overstep the mark. How will the public interest be served through the publication of these photos? I would argue that the only thing that is being served is a salacious appetite for eye-catching front page splashes.
“I intend to raise this issue with the Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte. We have all been shocked by the revelations of the phone hacking scandal in the UK. But perhaps we also need to be taking a closer look at the commonplace practices of publications on this side of the water.
“The core principles of journalism include holding those in power to account, and acting in the public interest. While newspapers have a duty to give accurate and detailed accounts of stories making the news, I believe they should aim to do this in a considerate fashion. Ordinary families should not be turned into pawns for the single aim of boosting circulation figures.”