LEAKED VIDEO – When is it OK to be using leaked video and why?

‘Leaked footage’ is something we seem to hear and read quite a lot about.

It’s an essential part of the free world. The public’s ability to anonymously give information to the press without fear that their identity will be uncovered. A journalist must never reveal their source.

However, leaks have been a hot topic over the past few weeks and months. The ‘leader of the free world’, US President Donald Trump, has denounced those who leak information to the press and called the media the ‘enemies’ of the American people.

Donald Trump has been involved in one big video leak over the past 12 months. It was the footage where he said he could grab women by the genitals and get away with it because he was a celebrity.

That didn’t seem to hurt him or his campaign too much so, while he’s never away from the forefronts of our minds for long, we’ll move on.

Just a few days ago this blog was one of the first in the world to bring you the leaked CCTV footage of Kim Jong-nam’s assassination at Kuala Lumpur Airport in Malaysia.

As far as video leaks goes this was the one the world was waiting for.

We’d all seen the CCTV stills of the ‘assassin’ wearing the ‘LOL’ T shirt, but moving images was what the everyone wanted to see, slightly oddly.

The footage of Kim Jong-nam’s assassination was leaked to the Japanese TV network, FUJI TV.

For them it would have been a no brainer on broadcasting the footage, despite it’s grim content. This video was so highly anticipated. There would have been a News Editor standing over an edit computer glancing between a Premiere Pro timeline and his/her watch trying to get it on air as quickly as possible.

Of course this is not the first time that video has been leaked, by any means.

The ‘Trump Tapes’ have already been mentioned. Here’s a couple of fascinating articles about that particular scoop from from The Washington Post and CNN.

The reality is that footage is leaked almost every day, somewhere in the world.

Recent leaked CCTV footage from Ghana shows the military beating up a police officer.

This leaked video shows the last moments of an Italian student in Cairo, Egypt before his murder.

So it’s nothing new, but not all video leaks contribute to hard news stories like this.

Google ‘famous video leaks’. Go on.

I guarantee the first page will be nearly entirely celebrity sex tapes.

In fact, screengrab what comes up and tweet them to me.

Here’s what I get when I Google ‘famous video leaks’

In examples such as the aforementioned sex tapes, there is a solid case to argue whether that’s in the public interest. Just because a bunch of teenage boys would like to see Jennifer Lawrence in bed with Idris Alba (a totally fictitious concept by the way) it doesn’t mean they should be able to.

Some would argue a similar point for the Kim Jong-nam assassination footage, does that need to be seen by millions of people around the world?

I’d argue yes, but it’s an unfortunate conclusion.

North Korea has, of course, locked the story down. It’s people don’t know about the killing. Many probably don’t even know their leader had a brother in the first place.

In this instance the footage is more than just a money making machine for the broadcasters and news websites that used it. It serves as a stark reminder as to what lengths Kim Jong-un will, allegedly, go to to, essentially, have his own way. While it may not be considered by the press the continuing coverage of this story brings the way that North Korea is run back into people’s minds.

It’s these questions that news outlets should be asking themselves when they receive leaked footage. Is it in the public interest? Are we fulfilling our service to the public by publishing or broadcasting this?

I just hope the assurance of cash or beating the competition for running the video doesn’t cloud their judgement.

 

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