I had a major problem on the day Lee Rigby was murdered with the coverage given to it by the media and wrote a blog entry about it (24th May). One of my concerns back then was that two men who had apparently murdered an innocent soldier were being allowed to publicise their cause through the showing of mobile phone video footage shot by witnesses. Whilst I accepted that the event was entirely newsworthy, I did not accept that the media needed to show images of men with weapons in their hands still dripping with the blood of their victim.
Well now we have Adebolajo and Adebowale’s trial being held at the Old Bailey. It would be so very easy to question what on earth the rationale is behind their plea of not guilty but everyone in this country is entitled to a fair trial and is ‘innocent until proven guilty’: That’s a principle of English law that we are rightly proud of. However I would hazard a guess that one of the considerations the two men have taken in account when pleading not guilty is the additional publicity they will get for their cause as the pictures and videos taken on the day in question are once again poured over by the media.
So have our media considered this? Apparently not! Today on the Lunchtime News they once again showed the mobile phone footage where Adebolajo has bloodied hands, and says: “The only reason we have killed this man today is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers. It’s an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” I accept that the jury needed to see this as clearly it is vital evidence in the trial but was it important that it be shown on national television again? Of course it wasn’t. Sadly it’s what passes for news these days but in reality is just sensationalism of the worst kind.