Have you ever looked at a photograph of a dying child or a wounded animal and wondered – how did that even get taken? How is it possible for a journalist or a photographer to stand by and take notes– or photographs – of a tragedy and not step in to help?
And now that every person, every where is a potential journalist – carrying a still and video camera around in their pocket in the form of a mobile phone – the line between when you should be allowed to record an event and when you should go to someone’s aid becomes even murkier.
Amateur video footage that has been posted on YouTube (you can view the video here but please be warned it is quite distressing), which shows Melbourne commuters racially abusing a French woman on a bus – is going viral fast.
Three passengers begin yelling at the young woman who is quietly singing in her native tongue. One calls the French woman a bitch, then chants ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie’ and another yells at her to ‘speak English mother f*cker’. Slowly the abuse gets louder and fouler and increasingly out of control.
The video is not just making news here in Australia. It is being watched by horrified viewers all around the world.
The actions of those who were being abusive is unquestionably wrong but talk back radio across the country is buzzing this morning with a different question: What about the guy who filmed the whole incident and then made a YouTube movie out of it? What about the other commuters? What about the bystanders?
Did they have a duty to step in and help? Should they have gone to the woman’s aid? How is it possible that nobody stepped in
to try and stop the abuse occurring?
Mamamia writer, Lucy Ormonde wrote about the duty of journalists and non-journalists to go to the aid of someone in trouble earlier this year. Here is what she had to say: