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Jan 15, 2013

Should the media censor coverage of gang related murders or violent crime?

Over a thousand persons voted on our last week’s question on whether there is support for a curfew given the crime situation. An overwhelming eighty-five percent were in favour of putting a curfew in place while the remaining fifteen percent said they were against it. Tonight’s question also relates to crime. Should the media censor coverage of gang related murders or violent crime? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote on our e-poll at You can also send an email with your comments to

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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14 Responses for “Should the media censor coverage of gang related murders or violent crime?”

  1. Storm says:

    I would like to see an experiment by the television news programs, to stop broadcasting the photos and video clips of blood and injured victims. “If it bleeds, it leads” has long been a mantra for news producers, but it is depressing to the whole community to see it so constantly.

    It would be reasonable to hear the stories, maybe through eyewitnesses or police, without seeing the gore. And it is important to see the photo of the perpetrator, especially if he is not yet arrested. People can help catch the villains if they have the right information.

    I would like to see some follow-up to old stories, too, like what is happening in the Bert Vasquez case. It’s too easy for a cameraman and a reporter to film without thinking much at a crime scene; I’d like to see a little more old-fashioned reporter work and investigation.

  2. Mark Hyde says:

    Yes, most definitely yes! …. those gangsters in Bz are now celebrity caz of the media! Pls censor all gang n crime in a whole? Thk u!

  3. Mike Vega says:

    I agree that all media should censor gang members.I most congratulate channel 7 for putting all pictures of gang members on the news so that the people can know who these criminals are. However, for stupidity such as burials and when they are being killed, it should not even reach the media. All criminals should be laid the same way they commit their crimes.

  4. Belize First says:

    ANY VIOLENT CRIME should be censored. Maybe Belize City people are more exposed to these crimes but not the entire country. Our society does not need to continuously be fed with violent propaganda. Our society needs a system implemented on how to deal with anger management, violent crimes such as murders, rapes etc.

  5. Al says:

    I beieve that senstive information that is crucial to a case not be made public. The least information that is given out helps with interogation. It is helpfull if only the police knows certain information, then the only people having the information connected to the case will be those who are suspects.

  6. alley cat says:

    I am surprised by the responses, CENSORSHIP? No way, I do believe the media can be a bit more professional and can actually do some investigative coverage of the incidents, dig for the truth. For example one media house mentioned that there was a 21 gun salute or something similar at the funeral. Why, would you equate something honorable that is normally bestowed at the funerals of heroes to this person who was by all accounts a cold blooded killer? Investigative reporting, I know for a FACT that innocent blood was shed that night, instead the media lump them all up because the higher the number the more sensational the murders will be. The media has a role to play, report the news, investigate the news, and seek the truth. I will not ask that media to suppress, manipulate or rewriting the news?

  7. islander says:

    I do not believe in censorship but what I do believe is that the media needs to stop portraying this scumbags as if though they are hero’s.

    For example you guys ran the story about George Price in the middle of your news cast…When the scumbags are killed, kill or the police kick them too hard you guys run that as your top story… the media needs to get things prioritized

  8. not again says:

    You cant cover the sun with one finger. I think we all have the rite to see whats going on. If you dont have images will you believe what the media is saying?

  9. Retired CEO says:

    Censorship no, but wouldn’t be great to listen/watch the news where there is not any negative happenings in the jewel. Oops! sorry, I know, this is a utopian dream or wishful thinking on my behest. I guess reality dictates that only negative news is bought/sold, not too many want to hear positives and good things or perhaps I got it all screwed up. Then on the other hand the media appears to over dramatized the negatives, shooting, murder and maim etc. There is no need to show the bloody halways and rooms. Furthermore, I can recall a reporter calling a senseless and cowardly act “urban warfare”. This sort of thing gloriifes the gangs and their criminal activities. Another thing the media is still reporting that the four men killed were gang bangers, this is very wrong at least one or two of those men were in the wrong place at he wrong time. The media needs to be somewhat more professional or at least have some well trained individuals to sort out the facts before reporting the news.

  10. Bear says:

    Alley Cat and Al, I believe [and assumed] the question was about SELF IMPOSED censorship, or maybe simply the exercise of decency and discretion. I doubt anybody would support a government censorship rule.

    I agree that we don’t need to see the BLOODY details and dead bodies to learn the news about crime. I’d really like it if some television program would produce a weekly show that gives as much detail as possible about UNSOLVED crimes, so citizens might be able to help the police with information to solve them. “America’s Most Wanted” has been very effective in that way in the States.

  11. John Boy,Carson,Ca says:

    I beleive in a free press,and an advocate of free speech. I say no.

  12. inthediaspora says:

    I wouldn’t use the word “censorship” but I do think that we should not glorify the criminals or give them any coverage in which they, or their family members, can make inflammatory, hate-filled comments. I believe the coverage of these crimes should focus on the innocent victims and that intra-gang violence should be relegated to regular crime news coverage and not sensationalized. I think that the media can still cover, as fully as they have been, the events that transpire, without resorting to tabloid journalism. The time has come for the media to take the lead in helping to take back Belize by giving people the facts they need to take care of themselves and be careful, but not let the criminals take center stage anymore. Channel Five has always been proud of the restraint, and practice of strong journalistic ethics it has showed when others have not, and the viewers have remained loyal. So have the advertisers.

  13. Ixchel Pop says:

    The media needs to not make their coverage a glorification of the gangster/thuggery lifestyle nor to confer to them an sort of grandeur and legitimacy. What they should have been doing was to exposed the lifestyle and the ways in which this subculture has been slowly eroded the way of life of Belizeans until we have become this calloused, jaded and unfeeling thing. I think we need more education as it has seemingly caught most of us off-guard, and by and large the population does not understand how this gang mentality works as it relates to recruitment. I believe we will never be truly be free from this, as we have not tackled the enabling environments that breeds this behavior. I just hope that it does not infiltrate into the smaller villages.

  14. TYAD says:

    do we need to see dead bodies lifted and thrown in the back of a pickup truck. we get the picture, get a decent picture of the deceased and show some compassion, they were recently 26 killings in Newprt USA did we see blood or dead bodies on CBS< NBC or ABC, so maybe censorship is not the right word

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