Saturday, 7 November 2009

A prey

Yesterday the TV (I forgot which channel) happened to be switched on while I was working. The head of a murdered woman has been found in northern Hiroshima prefecture. I seems to be the head of a 19 year old student from Shimane, Hiraoka Miyako, who was reported missing some days ago. We see photographs of the dead woman, people who knew her are interviewed, more and more details about her life are revealed. We learn that she was a good and diligent student, interested in issues such as global poverty, that she participated in an NGO-led study circle and that she dreamed of travelling abroad. But suddenly, we are told, she quit her study circle. We get to hear intimations, suggestions of rumours, people seeing her with unknown men. Without telling us anything explicitly, we are obviously led to believe that she "got herself into trouble"...

Let me ask you a few things, journalists.

If she "got herself into trouble", are we perhaps to conclude that it was her own fault that she got murdered?

If somebody gets murdered, is it the victim who is to be judged or is it the perpetrator?

If somebody gets murdered, is it normal procedure to start digging up every little detail of her life and make it public? Is it decent to offer her up to the TV viewers for public dissection?

If somebody gets murdered, does she lose all her rights?

The murdered girl was a victim. A victim such as anyone of us could one day be. To associate with unknown people is normal. We've all got the right to do that. To change one's interests is normal. To get oneself into trouble is also fully normal. We have all done that. Yes, each one of us, even you. The murdered girl just happened to get killed. It could have happened to any one of us.

If we get killed, would we want journalists like you to report about our lives?

I am questioning your professional ethics here, journalists. Please think about what I'm writing. Just give it a minute. And ask yourself if you are proud of what you are doing.


  1. When I watched this news on TV, I thought that she got murdered AGAIN by news media.
    They leave her family of the victim in immeasuable grief AGAIN.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Suzu-pon! I agree completely. I don't know what you think, but I have a feeling that this way of reporting is especially common when the victim is female, and that makes me even more angry.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.