Ethics/law question

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by KaraM, Jan 19, 2007.

  1. KaraM

    KaraM TPF Noob!

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    The other day I noticed in a small town newspaper a photo of a car that had crashed. In the photo, the patient was being extricated, and her face was very clear (but not too bloody, etc). My fellow paramedics and I are upset that this photo was in the paper because of the way it showed the patient trapped in the vehicle.

    Is there any law about this kind of thing? Are there any laws that regulate what can and cannot be placed in the newspaper and/or on TV? I know that some paramedics have gotten trouble for posting pictures of accident victims on the web....

    Thanks for any advice/insight you can give me.
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I believe that newspapers and things like that fall into the category of 'fair use'...which says that they can use photos in an editorial manner...even if they show people's faces etc. There is also laws pertaining to a 'Reasonable expectation of privacy'...which is to protect people while in their homes etc...but that doesn't sound like the case here. I guess it comes down to the newspaper's editor...if they want to publish a photo like that...they have the right...but it's up to them to decide if it's right.

    I'm not a lawyer, so take this for what it's worth. As always, it would be best to consult a lawyer in your area to get proper advice.
     
  3. Player_1

    Player_1 TPF Noob!

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    Freedom of the press, I assume. However, I sometimes wonder about desensitization of the republic with such imagery vs. not sheltering people's minds to the reality of car accidents vs. if such things should be kept quiet to shelter people.

    Sure, this is quite the moral dilemma. I suspect either they were allowed to use the picture, weren't allowed to but did anyway, or had permission from someone.
     
  4. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ethics is a complex subject, Kara.

    Consider the following:

    1. If the publication of the photograph resulted in someone driving more carefully and thereby not causing a fatal accident, was the publication of the photograph justified? [What 'price' do you place on a life?]

    2. If the photograph caused mental suffering for the person photographed, was the publication of the photograph justified? [What 'price' do you place on personal privacy?]

    The list could easily be extended.

    As I said, ethics is complex, Kara.
     
  5. rmh159

    rmh159 TPF Noob!

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    Something else to remember is that ethics is subjective where law isn't. If the person is legally able to print the picture then that's really as far as you can go.

    You could argue that it desenitizes the public just as easily as the Editor could say it scares the public straight. Who knows.
     
  6. dewey

    dewey TPF Noob!

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    Newspapers have to get readership however possible... a shocking photo is a good way to get attention... and if it angers people that's even better for the paper. I saw a shot from years and years ago the Toronto Sun ran of a dog pinned under a streetcar... horrible image but rack sales soared that day.

    I wouldn't say it was unethical - it's news plain and simple.
     

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