Why do we like circulating photos of dead victims of violent crime?

Nobody will disagree that there are a lot of heinous crimes being perpetrated today, and a lot of it is going unpunished. Recently I saw a photo of the latest murder-rape victim making the rounds on Facebook. The photo depicted what the poster claimed to be “Sarah”, a 14-15 year old girl who was allegedly stabbed on the head with an icepick supposedly after being raped and then thrown onto a rice field in Iloilo.

murder_sceneI understand the outrage and the temptation to emphasize the point by exhibiting the bloodied corpses of the victims of these crimes. There are too many crimes like this where the victims’ families never see justice served. Our politicians continue to be focused on their vanity advocacies — like that whole kerfuffle surrounding that building that is supposedly ruining the view of the Rizal monument in Luneta. But violent crime seems to be regarded as a banal fact of Philippine life that no longer merits a place in politicians’ publicity agendas.

Nonetheless there is still the need to show some respect for the dead. Why do photos of dead people with faces uncovered keep circulating around the Net? Even more disappointing is that some of these photos are published by established mainstream media organizations!

I recall reading about how many journalists around the world exercised a lot more restraint when it came to the video of the beheading of American journalist James Foley. A lot of them desisted from any further posting of the videos and its still images on Twitter, and those who already did pulled them off. Maybe it is time journalists and publishers in the Philippines take their cue from that show of respect exhibited by their peers in other countries.

What probably set the precedent for that sort of thing in the Philippines was the family of martyred national hero Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino Jr who decided to exhibit his bloodied remains as is after his assassination in 1983. Also, photos of his body on the tarmac of the Manila International Airport where he fell were widely-circulated.

But that’s a different thing altogether. Ninoy’s family gave consent for and even encouraged all that violence porn. My heart goes out to all those families who want to grieve in private and want their sons’ and daughters’ dignity protected.

Show a bit of respect. Violent crime is a big problem in the Philippines. But let us not let basic decency and respect be its other victims.


Post Author: Kate Natividad

Frustrated artist doing geek for a living.

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24 Comments on "Why do we like circulating photos of dead victims of violent crime?"

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The sensationalist approach that mass media uses likely whets the appetite of people for shocking things, so they likely pass around the most shocking things first.

Hyden toro3
First Ninoy Aquino , Jr. , is not a Hero or a Martyr. His family allowed the photo of his dead body; in order to gain sympathy for votes. Ninoy Aquino , Jr. died for his Hacienda Luisita. He supplied the NPA with money, arms and financial support; which was a treasonous act. The Feudal Oligarchs made him a Hero; in order to gain control of the government. Our government is a Feudal Oligarchy; and the most corrupt in Asia, because of the Aquinos. People are now desensitized by the photos of crime victims. The Badder the news; the more… Read more »
Hyden Toro5

It shoul be : “crucified on crosses”…crucifition still exist today…


@ Kate the cutie, It is to remind Filipino’s of what will happen to them if they step out of line!

The Philippines is a unique place, so much violence on TV,high murder/crime rate,etc etc…Violence towards woman, kids getting shit slapped out of them, I could continue but you get the picture.It is there for a reason,and that reason ain’t good.


Just compare the movie classification system in the Philippines and that of USA. When The Passion of Christ was aired in US, it has a R rating. In the Philippines, it’s rated at PG-13.

In the real world outside of the Philippines crime scenes are sealed off and no one is standing around. In Satan’s toilet bowl hundreds of people turn up including very young children. What sort of parent would allow their young child to go and look at a chopped up bloody dead body laying in the street? TV camera’s turn up and the crowd are giggling and laughing waving at the camera. They should a complete lack of empathy towards the victim or the victims kin. Then to top if off the police will only investigate the crime if the victims… Read more »

They show not should

Jerry Lynch

No civilized country shows pictures of victims of violent crime.


What’s the shenanigans about customer service relations and being professional ? Then muting the system, and whining like a bitch, when your job is to serve the public. These csr should expect what they get from their job, or stfu and leave your job.


csr….bending over for your customers, and that’s your job, quit whining and just do it.