The decision by several media outlets to broadcast the image of a liberal lawmaker who found himself naked in front of his camera during a virtual session of Parliament on Wednesday raises the astonishment and ambiguity of experts in journalistic ethics. They said there was no public interest in showing this photo.
“We can easily describe the anecdote, why are we also showing the photo?” Professor Marc Francois Bernier, who studies ethics and professional conduct in journalism at the University of Ottawa, reacts.
In the middle of the questioning period in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Pontiac Member of Parliament William Amos appeared in Adam’s costume on screen, visibly unaware that his computer camera had been activated. A detail that was not lost on his fellow parliamentarians. Whip Bloc Québécois, Claude DeBellefeuille, complained about it after a period of straightforward questions, without naming the member.
It was an unfortunate mistake. My video was accidentally played where I changed work clothes after jogging, and William Amos apologized hours later on Twitter. “Obviously it was an honest mistake and it won’t happen again.”
Only the members of parliament and federal employees who participated in the session actually got to see this unusual scene. However, several media outlets have obtained a photo showing William Amos completely naked, in an office, with his gender hidden by his cell phone at the time of the screenshot.
The image quickly spread on social media, but it was also shared by many media outlets across Canada and even across the border. More than one surprising decision. Many netizens even questioned whether they could share the news on their social networks, fearing that there were problems with the law by transmitting content including nudity.
“Dear Paid” error
Contact press experts duty, The use of this image was not necessary because it does not provide any information of interest to the audience. Rather, it constitutes a “lack of respect for the dignity” of the deputy and a “lack of integrity,” according to Marc Francois Bernier, of the University of Ottawa.
“Even if it was … the strategic part, let’s say, hidden by a cell phone, we still see a lot. It is a form of exploitation, a way to take advantage of the vulnerability of this individual who has made a simple mistake and exploit it.”
Former Director General of Information at Radio Canada Alain Saulnier agrees, who is also the originator of the foremost evidence of journalistic ethics in Quebec. “You have to be consistent as a mediator. Will publishing this photo lead to the marginalization of this man by his family and friends and the ridicule of colleagues and their reputations? The media also has a form of responsibility, as it is not there to punish people who deviate from good behavior of this kind.” […] It’s a mistake dear paid, I think, “he insists.
The experts argue that giving importance to such news by playing a “shocking image” that attracts clicks and ratings, above all, threatens to give weapons to those who are already accusing the media of excitement.
duty She contacted several media organizations that published William Amos’ photo to understand their editorial choice. Among the respondents National Mail He argued that it was in the public interest to revisit the question period on Wednesday and that it would be “difficult to report such an event without showing what the MPs saw to the readers.”
The CBC cites for the same reasons and states that the decision was made after an “in-depth editorial discussion.” [du Bureau parlementaire à Ottawa], Which took into account CBC’s journalistic standards and practices and most importantly, matters of public interest. She adds, “It is important to note that the image was in the public domain (via social media and news) at the time of its release.”
Note that Radio Canada has not broadcast the screenshot in question.
On Thursday, a number of Liberal MPs came to defend William Amos. The leader of the government, Pablo Rodriguez, even asked the Speaker of the House of Commons to investigate the origin of the screenshot that was sent to the media the previous day. He noted that sharing this image “could” be criminal in nature.
Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand also expressed concern about sharing the photo on Thursday, at an event Mr. Amos was to attend. Minister Anand said in his absence, the latter took a “day off”.
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