Yesterday’s shocking events in Finland brought the debate about media censorship to the fore once again.
Peter Horrocks, head of the BBC newsroom, has gone on record on the BBC Editors’ Blog to explains the BBC’s stance on the killer’s YouTube clip:
Our competitors chose to run the full footage of Matti Juhnai Saari issuing his threat “You will die next”, followed by him firing towards the camera and the explosion of pieces of fruit across the lens as his bullets found their target. The BBC chose only to run the verbal thereat, but not the firing or the splattered fruit.
All well and good, you’d think, except this is a lie.
The BBC DID show the full footage, including the firing at the camera. I know this because I saw it. And I know I haven’t made a mistake because of two reasons. Firstly, since I went to university, my Dad cut down our Virgin Media TV package so that the only news channel we receive is the BBC News Channel. Secondly, the news was breaking yesterday at the same time I was doing my blog post about coverage of Brown’s speech. If you read that you’ll see that I was watching the BBC feed for that time.
The shots were shown. I was shocked by them. By the time the six o’clock news had come on, they had censored the clips. But for Mr Horrocks to claim the BBC took some sort of moral high-ground in not showing the clips is simply not true.
The clips were shown. So why lie?