Critique of Worldwide Media Coverage
Aired December 3, 2005 - 21:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Becky Anderson, in London. Welcome to CNN'S
INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENTS, where we examine how the media are covering the big stories of the
Later in the show, a look at how the Chinese government is cracking down on bloggers, plus behind bars in the
Middle East. I'll be speaking to the award-winning producer of "Inside Israel's Jails."
First, though, we begin with these terrifying images of the Westerners kidnapped in Iraq this week. A videotape
of the four men, all said to be Christian peace activists, was broadcast on the Arab satellite channel Al
Jazeera. Western television networks followed suit.
There was at least initially some confusion over the identity of the captives and the hostage-takers, who are
said to have accused the men of being spies, though verifying this information is virtually impossible.
So, should the media broadcast the tapes at all? And if so, what steps should be taken in advance?
To discuss this, I'm joined by CNN's editorial director Richard Griffiths and in the studio, James Brandon, who
was kidnapped then released in Iraq last year.
Let's start with you, Richard, if I can. Should these media -- these pictures have been shown by Al Jazeera and
indeed should the rest of the international media have followed suit?
RICHARD GRIFFITHS, CNN: The answer, I think, is yes. These are difficult issues. We have to figure this out
on a case by case basis. You can't have a blanket rule. But, yes, I think that these images were news- worthy.
Now, a few things you should know about CNN's process. We saw the pictures on Al Jazeera. We looked at
them carefully and examined them, determined that there were identifying data on the tape, and then started
Only after we had confirmation that the families knew that these hostages had been taken did we broadcast
the images, and then only in a very sparing fashion, about 15 seconds of each, and nothing that would be seen
as humiliating. That's been our rule of thumb since these tapes started showing up.
ANDERSON: There are two issues here, aren't there, James. There is the question as to whether these are