Friday, February 27, 2009

Ban on Photos of Soldiers' Coffins Lifted

For the first time in 18 years, the US media will be allowed to photograph coffins of American soldiers as they are brought back into the country. Yesterday, the Pentagon lifted the 1991 ban imposed by the first President Bush - the new policy eradicates the blanket ban but stipulates that the media must get permission from the family before the photo or video can be used.

The new media freedom raises ethical questions about journalistic responsibility: how do photographers get the important and informative photos while still being sensitive to the pain of military families? What does the public have the right to see and what should be a private part of grieving? Will the influx of photos really change public opinion on the wars we are currently fighting? How will the media deal with families who are divided as to whether to allow their family member's coffin to be documented?

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