Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not represented as fact|
One News carried
another sensationalist story
last night, highlighting the
fact that gory police pictures from the violent murder of a Tongan man had
made it onto a US website.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
During the item, viewers were shown a computer screen displaying the front
page of the site concerned but with parts of the URL and the page carefully
obliterated, presumably because they're trying to be responsible broadcasters.
However, any 13-year-old school-kid could have used the rest of the information
to track down the site in just a few minutes. Indeed, it took me exactly
152 seconds to find it using Google, which pointed me to a review of the
site that had the link.
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The site concerned is relishing the coverage and now even carries a link to
the story on the NZoom website.
Perhaps it's about time someone told the folks over at One News that when it comes
to matters internet, most kids are a whole lot smarter than your average
Since the site is located outside NZ's jurisdiction, there's not a whole lot
that can be done to pull the pictures -- which brings the problem
of the borderless Net back into the spotlight.
To quote from the NZoom story: "Internal Affairs says the pictures may still
breech NZ laws if they are classified as offensive" -- so it would be unwise for
anyone here to publish copies of the pictures concerned.
But hang on -- I believe that the images concerned are probably already
being published from machines located in NZ. I wonder how many ISP's
web caches are carrying copies of the images -- would they perhaps
be risking prosecution?
Given the agressive level of caching that XTRA and ClearNet/ZFree seem to
be running, I'd wager a sizeable sum that they are effectively publishing
those potentially "offensive" images by serving them up from a machine
hosted within NZ.
Am I going to provide you with a link to the website that's caused all this
fuss and bother?
Hell no. If you're reading this and you really want to spend your time
ogling the grotesque aftermath of a violent attack then you're probably
more than smart enough to figure it out the URL of the website yourself
using the information kindly provided in the One News video footage.
TV News Credibility Takes Another Hit
Regardless of the technical and journalistic issues it raises, you have to ask
whether the publishing of these potentially "offensive" images on a website
half a world away was even worthy of a spot on the six o'clock news?
After all, the material concerned hasn't actually been classified as "offensive"
by Internal Affairs and its publication affects just a handful of people.
Was this just another instance of the mainstream media looking to associate the
Net with evil nasty things?
I know I
ranted on this subject just the other day,
but if they're that hard up for news, what about covering the Sky TV fiasco
-- an issue that affects over a million NZers.
I still can't believe how the Sky story appears to have been actively
suppressed by both TVNZ and TV3.
Oh... hang on, aren't both organisations in bed with Sky and reliant on it
to rebroadcast their content via the digital satellite service? Surely it
couldn't be that these relationships have ensured that we'll never see a
negative word spoken about the pay TV broadcaster on our evening news?
Is the line between infomercial and "award winning TV news coverage" perhaps
becoming a little blurred these days?
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