The Mail Online published a video showing a murder crime scene and a murder victim surrounded by blood. That, one might suspect, broke press guidelines.
“The video footage was from the crime scene and showed the victim lying on the floor of his home, surrounded by noticeable blood stains,” IPSO explained. “The lower half of his body was covered with a blanket. His chest was exposed and his face had been blurred. “
The murder victim’s son complained about the Oct. 2018 online report, “British woman faces the death penalty after ‘stabbing her husband to death during an argument’ in Malaysia.” The son argued the video was “gratuitous” and “deeply upsetting,” according to IPSO. Even worse, the son said the video was posted before many family members knew of his father’s death and that the Mail didn’t check to see if the family was aware before publication. Further, he was upset about how hard it was to complain, saying he had to e-mail and phone the site the day his father was killed. According to IPSO:
“He said that the article was published 7 hours after he had been informed of his father’s death, but that not all members of the extended family had been informed at that time. He said that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said that it had not received any contact from the publication to check whether the family had been informed of the death. He said that the phone records provided by the publication during IPSO’s investigation showed that the FCO had not been contacted until several minutes after the article was published.”
The Mail apologized, according to IPSO, claiming it posted the wrong video and didn’t mean to post the video of the murder victim. In spite of that, the Mail claimed the video of the murder victim was fine because it thought it was pixelated enough. “It said the video was a dispassionate illustration of the scene of a serious crime,” IPSO said.
IPSO rejected those arguments, saying the video was in a private home, not in public, of a murder victim. “Publishing a video showing gratuitous footage of an alleged murder victim at a crime scene, on a blood stained floor, represented a failure to handle publication sensitively in breach of Clause 4,” IPSO ruled. “This breach was exacerbated by the fact that it was published so soon after the incident. “
While the Mail didn’t contact the foreign office to find out if the family had been contacted, because the article was published 12 hours after the murder, 7 hours after some family was contacted, and after a police officer issued a press statement naming the victim, it wasn’t a violation to identify the victim, IPSO ruled.