I grew up accustomed to censorship in the media, where polite reminders would be given when the evening news decided to show (rare) images of dead people on tv. As a result, any time I come across a grotesque picture on a blog by accident (I greatly appreciate bloggers who provide warnings of what is to come so I can leave beforehand), I feel physically sick. I’m referring to pictures of people who were killed and tossed into mass graves, people who were recently found suffocated, the woman in Lagos who was killed by her husband, and most recently the guy who committed suicide, pictures that have circulated this year, which thankfully I have avoided seeing for the most part.
I understand that a picture is worth a thousand words and I know for some there’s a fascination or curiosity about seeing the aftermath of a tragedy but sometimes I question the value of a sensationalist picture over the words, especially on some blogs. If you’re a news blog, you may have a more legitimate claim to sharing such graphic images (please include a disclaimer though!), but a personal blog or other type of blogs passing on such images? I don’t know. If the message one is trying to convey is We need to stop spousal abuse, I’m not sure that seeing a dead victim would stop someone bent on harming his or her partner from doing it. Instead I’d rather read about the options available to a couple going through a rough time. I regularly question the point of splashing a horrific picture on a blog along with “what a shame” comments.
I don’t know much about censorship in Nigerian media, but I remember my trip to Nigeria in 1994 when a man who I believe had been found guilty of stealing was paraded through the streets completely naked, with people following behind him, and possibly flogging him. You’d have to look very hard to see that here.
But maybe I’m just a sensitive baby (I do get impacted easily by things like death): I’ll just look into setting a PG-13 filter on my computer so that graphic images are automatically blocked and replaced by pictures of cute babies.