Saturday, February 28, 2009

Photos of soldiers' coffins

Adam posted last week about the ethics of showing coffins of soldiers returning to the US. The decision to ban photographs of them has been enforced since the first President Bush's term and was reversed by President Obama.

Here's a Poynter column about the ethical issues surrounding the decision to show or not to show the coffins.


Photos of Soldiers' Coffins Increase Understanding Through Visual Storytelling

War is about heroism and about horror. War reflects battles won and lives lost. As citizens who send our military men and women into combat, we must comprehend the commitment, the courage and the cost. We must grasp what it means when our fighters fall. We must try to understand the pain that people endure when losing loved ones who wore uniforms -- our uniforms -- in warfare.


  1. I agree with the author of the editorial. War is an awful, human phenomenon and it is important, in respect to those who lost their lives, to rememeber the human cost of battle. I hope this trend of opening government to the eyes of citizens and journalists continues.

  2. I am so glad this decision has been reversed by President Obama. Soldiers deserve this last bit of honor rather than having it look like they are being snuck back into the country. Death should not be hidden. It is a fact of war and people need to see the real toll. I think this administration will be more careful of transparency. As a citizen and a journalist, I am grateful for it.