Death Scene Photo Controversy In Barbados

A young man hangs himself at his home and a local photographer is passing by when family members find the body. The photos show the distraught family members and the face of the hanged victim. The partially cut rope still looming over scene in the background. The horror. The grief. The calls to the Almighty. And finally the resignation and acceptance of the truth that the son is not only dead, but that he has taken his own life.

The next day the photos appear on a local blog. The family is horrified, but the blog owner refuses to remove the photos. They are news he says, and news is the business of his blog.

Each of us who sits at an editor’s desk whether in our bedroom at 3 in the morning or professionally in an office, makes decisions every day about what stories will be covered and in what depth.

The editors of the Nation News did not show the photos, but did a story. We chose to show a photo that is probably the least controversial of the lot.

David Crichlow at CaribPix.Net decided to publish an entire series of photos. That is his choice, and aside from certain photos where society has a wider interest in prohibiting their distribution (ie: child pornography), the choice should be up to Mr. Chichlow.

We are sorry for Helen Foster and the family and friends of her son Shawn Foster. No doubt Mr. Crichlow feels sorry for them also. No doubt at all about that.

But Mr. Crichlow is in the news business – and no matter at what level or how large or professional his organisation is, he has a right to determine what he will publish.

CaribPix.Net – Barbados Death Photos

The Nation – Mum: Take Them Off

Photo credit for above (grieving family member with covered body): CaribPix.Net

The photo is copyright David M. Crichlow. We have used a portion of the photo under the fair-use doctrine as it is the centre of discussion.

Advertisements

28 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Ethics, Freedom Of The Press, News Media

28 responses to “Death Scene Photo Controversy In Barbados

  1. Icansee

    Apart from one, there is no news in the photos. The owner is trying to genrate hits and the Nation and now BFP are helping.
    The viewer is left to interpert what he sees,
    “The horror. The grief. The calls to the Almighty. And finally the resignation and acceptance of the truth that the son is not only dead, but that he has taken his own life.” Art maybe, news no.

  2. Bimbro

    But I could swear I’ve seen photos of dead bodies strewn all over the place in Bajan newspapers, on the occasion of a road accident, so what’s the difference!!!!

    What is really, important is the unfortunate, circumstance which persuaded this young man to take his own life!!

    I’m not certain that the photos are otherwise, that important!!

  3. John

    Bimbro
    July 19, 2008 at 4:12 pm
    But I could swear I’ve seen photos of dead bodies strewn all over the place in Bajan newspapers, on the occasion of a road accident, so what’s the difference!!!!

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    True, true true.

    …… but it is on what happens after the deaths when due process is supposed to be happening that the Newspapers are strangely silent.

    They might carry the funeral because this is easy, just send a photographer and take a few photos, but the really difficult thing which the Newspapers don’t do is ask the questions about and report on the delays in due process.

    There are now two unnatural deaths which occurred in a short period of time, this one apparently suicide the other one at Cove Bay ……. well, …….. unknown, or rather … unclear.

    How long will they both remain ……… unclear?

  4. Adrian Hinds

    but look at what is driving the Mothers request for Mr Chrichlow to remove the pics .

    Her words as reported by the nationnews
    ————–
    “People all over are calling me and talking about how bad the pictures look. The pictures give the impression that my son was living in the backyard.”
    ————–

    seems somewhat self interested to me . She is worried about how the pictures make her look.

    as much as i want too, I am going to refrain from speculating on why this kid took his life.

  5. 329.184.83.168

    I had a look.
    The immediate environment I saw
    is an absolute DUMP!

    I reckon I woulda hung myself too
    just to escape that Pine squalor!

    No big ting.
    Another storm in a teacup.

  6. PiedPiper

    A backyard and a shed is nothing to make judgements about. I wonder how you would feel if that was your son, brother or husband? You judge a man by the state of his yard?
    Be thankful that your life is relatively free of stress and that you are not in the deep depths of despair that this young man was in.

  7. yatinkiteasy

    Mr Citchlow should be ashamed for posting those photos on his website…perhaps that is why he has no advertisers, after a year of operation.I sincerely wish that he continues to get no advertising support for what can only be considered a mediocre attempt at a news website.

  8. Adrian Hinds

    PiedPiper
    July 19, 2008 at 7:37 pm
    A backyard and a shed is nothing to make judgements about. I wonder how you would feel if that was your son, brother or husband? You judge a man by the state of his yard?
    Be thankful that your life is relatively free of stress and that you are not in the deep depths of despair that this young man was in.
    ===================================

    Well Piedpiper base on what “329.184.83.168” said i guess the Lady had a reason to be concerned about how the pictures would reflect on her.

  9. John

    Anyone heard about a guy called Ezeikel Arthur?

    Don’t know if he is family to you know who, but he died in 1982 in the back seat of a car on the way to the funeral of a friend.

    The Coroner held an inquest 22 years later in 2004 and concluded that his death was due to alcohol poisoning.

    All of the witnesses, friends who were present in the car when he died and who could have assisted her in her determination were also by 2004 dead themselves.

    When I read the press report of the Coroner’s Inquest in 2004 I could only laugh at the circumstances but I got to thinking and realise just what that 22 years meant.

    Nobody cared.

  10. 329.18

    “You judge a man by the state of his yard?”

    I judge the man’s state of mind by the state of his yard
    and thus the resultant action he took!

    I’m not saying his suicide was the fault of his lousy environment
    just that it sure as he11 couldn’t have helped his demeanour.

    His yard(if it was his yard) was quite squalid – if this is what living conditions are like in some Pine backyards, no wonder we have the problems we have, eh?!

  11. 329.18

    Sono’s such a pleasant chap, isn’t he?

    Does his backyard look like that too, I wonder??

  12. sunymuni

    lots of poor bajans yard look like that

  13. 147

    I see a banana tree, and maybe some spinach growing over the paling and a house frame being constructed. Apart from the rusting paling I see no squalor.

  14. 147

    The suicide of a young man is always a tragedy and I extend my sympathies to Ms. Helen Foster and family.

    Dear BFP: You say that “No doubt Mr. Crichlow feels sorry for them also. No doubt at all about that.” I do not share your views. If Mr. Crichlow felt sorrow or compassion for the family he could not possibly have published those photos. If it is a news site as he and you says it is, then the news is that a young man has died, no need for distressing photos. Don’t you think that the death is hurting the family enough as is.

    Dear BFP and David Crichlow: One of these days one of your young relatives is going to die suddenly and violently and then you will see how much it hurts. You will find tha you will avoid going to the shop those days because you do not want to see the front page of the papers. And you certainly will hurt.

    I’ve been there. It is unbelievably painful.

  15. here is a young man who took his own life, a very painful situation and the discussion is about the condition of the backyard.you guys are a bunch of cockroaches.

  16. reality check

    good constructive and investigative journalism would delve into the possible reasons of the suicide such as education, hopelessness, family support sytems etc and offer solutions.

    Is this too much to expect from our local rags?

    If we are just going to focus on the sensationalist and ghoulish aspect of such a desperate and sad event, what can we expect in return as a caring and sharing society?

    More importantly, what does it say about are leaders and owners of these newspapers who are entrusted with the power to make things better but just sit back
    and look for ratings and advertising revenues?

    BFP

    How about an analysis of all the owners of our newspapers as well as the editors? Then we need to tie them into their political connections.

    The parties could communicate with the masses through the blogs for free but choose to communicate with the peoples monies through conventional media so that the message is fixed and polished without any chance of having the public discuss the issues in an open forum.

    Once again the Barbadian taxpayer is being ripped off
    by an outdated system that rewards “yardfowl” to tow a specific party line.

  17. Mr Smith

    Wendy, I totally agree with you. Well said.

  18. unapologetic

    If there is no legal impediment to publishing the photos, then all power to Mr. Crichlow. I however believe that we should strive for good taste and maintain our society in a way that does not glorify gore, that values life, and shows respect to both living and dead.
    I would therefore not have published the photo with the covers pulled back to reveal the face of the corpse; But that is just my opinion!

  19. Grunger

    I would be proud to have my backyard looking as nice as that! I wud feel good about dat.

  20. Pingback: Top Posts « WordPress.com

  21. Richard

    if you have to post such photos or condone the posting of such photos it shows that as writers you are not very good. A skilled writer could get over the sadness, horror, dispair, happyness – whatever the emotion to the reader ( some readers anyway )

    In the vast canyons of my frazzled mind it shows me that you (the original poster and the people who run this dump ) are as poor a human beings as you are writers.

    These amaturish blogs are not news, and the people that run them are not journalists either.

    They are mostly self absorbed megalomaniacs looking for an audience. (and you found me so its working!)

    its sad,
    now where is that crack pipe…

  22. Matallie

    BFP think “no doubt Mr Critchlow feels sorry for the family of Ms Helen Foster”. Sorry, but I have to disagree.

    If Mr Crichlow felt sorry the family, his comment “I have no apologies for posting them” certainly in no way reflect the feeling of someone who is sorry or have any compassion for the Foster family. In fact it reflects someone who is arrongantly contemptuous.

    It is sometimes sad to see the extent some people go in their quest for news.

  23. whatapric

    Why doesn’t the owner of the site put up his own picture?

    Blasted idiot

  24. Tony Hall

    I strongly agree that the putting the photo on the website was in poor taste and I don’t realistically expects to get any new advertising given what he has done.

  25. Tony Hall

    Correction

    “I don’t believe Mr. Critchlow realistically expects”

  26. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked
    submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that
    over again. Anyways, just wanted to say superb blog!

  27. Britt

    Hello everyone, it’s my first go to see at this site, and article is actually fruitful designed for me, keep up posting these articles.

  28. mark fenty

    I think that we all can agree that Newpapers are in the business of selling papers etc. But, in the interest of human decency and the proper moral decorum, their certainly have a duty to respect the privacy of the family in an instance such as this. Personally, I think that a photo of this nature shouldn`t be published given emotional suffering the family is probably going to experience. Let`s face it though, who care about common decency in the era of greed and moral decrepitude?