Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Horrific detail about girl's death is so insensitive

I am writing to complain about the totally irresponsible and insensitive presentation on BBC Northern Ireland and UTV of the dreadful 1981 murder of little Jennifer Cardy.

First and foremost, the unnecessarily detailed coverage of this child's murder must have added greatly to the distress of her family.

Was it really in the public interest to know that Jennifer was probably not dead when she was dumped into the water?

Was it really necessary for those watching the local six o'clock news to be taken on a voyeuristic horror trip when details of serial-killer Robert Black's fantasies were revealed?

Was it really necessary to know what items of kids clothing were found inside the back of this monster's van?

What happened to making sure we have a caring and sensitive approach in our news broadcasts? Was any thought given to the possible effect on any potential family audience?

This was brutal, grisly, X-certificate stuff. Where was the warning beforehand about the grim nature of this material?

What were the newsroom staff who sanctioned the release of this material thinking? Goodness knows how many young children listened to it at family tea-time. Goodness knows how many suffered nightmares as a result.

Some may think that I am making a mountain out of a molehill. However, I remain very uncomfortable and concerned about what I saw and heard on the local news. It was simply a case of too much information.

T J McCLEAN

Belfast

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