Diane Mehta of The Canadian Press reports:
Broadcasting the distress call of a dying police officer as he lay trapped under a minivan was not a breach of privacy, but required a warning to viewers, the country’s private broadcast watchdog has found.
York Regional Police Const. Garrett Styles died after being dragged and then pinned under an overturned minivan on a rural highway last June.
Read more on The Toronto Star.
Although I empathize with the slain officer’s family, I think the broadcast council reached a correct conclusion as this was a newsworthy human interest story that occurred in a public setting over public airwaves.
That said, and in light of conversations about right to delete, should any such tape or news coverage be archived and remain online indefinitely, where it may serve as a painful reminder to family, friends, and colleagues, or should its availability online be time-limited? Those who argue for a free press may argue that it should remain available, but does the actual recording need to remain online? Couldn’t a news story that quotes his words achieve the same goal? Even those who have nothing to hide may reasonably argue that some things shouldn’t live forever on the Internet.