News Reports On Death

The only certainty in life are – taxes and death. Despite the surety of death, the method of death can still reach us as a shocking and overwhelming news. This is especially so for deaths due to accidents. Nobody expects an accident, much less prepare for it.

Recently I helped a family where the deceased was pronounced dead on the scene of accident – the road. 马路入虎口 – A Chinese Idiom that aptly describes roads as being similar to the mouth of a tiger. The number of accidents on the road seems to be increasing but then again, it could be because now news on accidents are heightened. Seems like when one accident happens, there would be news of it for the next few days, until the deceased has been cremated.

I do understand that news reporters have a job to do – which is to report but when the family has intentionally tried to avoid them, and when they have even made it clear that they do not want any news to be publicized with regards to the death, is it still ethical for them to pursue the news? In fact, news reporters from more than one news publication came over to the wake venue, attempting to interview the immediate family members of the deceased. When they’ve failed to do so, they interviewed the extended family members (who might not all be that close to the deceased) and then reported news on the deceased without consulting the immediate family members – namely the spouse and children if they were alright with the nature of the news being published. This probably led to incorrect details being published, the most blatant error being the surname of the deceased. The whole incident rendered the family upset and angry all at once; all these emotions bubbling in the midst of grieving. I am pretty sure they were not having an easy time with the nature of the death, and now they have to handle such issues which in my opinion could very well have been prevented.

I just hope that these news reporters would develop more empathy towards families who would might have lost someone due to an accident. If they are alright with details of the incident being reported, feel free to report on it but if family members are adamant on not having news articles of their loved ones being published, please do respect their views and be sensitive about it.

Til Then,

HT

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