For instance, this is one of the most famous photographs of the Vietnam War:
It shows a South Vietnamese General executing a Viet Cong prisoner.
Now, if you were taking a photo like that, would you intervene to perhaps save a life? Or would you be…
In the real world, it’s not an “either/or” situation. The question depends on two assumptions — that there is a clear “good guy” and “bad guy,” and that any intervention by the journalist would have an affect on the outcome.
In most situations, those facts aren’t so clear. Certainly, if I saw a man trying to kill an innocent child, I’d want to stop it, but that’s very different from an incident in war.
The more relevant fact, though, is that it is very rare to have a situation in which intervening would change the outcome.
Take the photo to which you linked, taken by AP photographer Eddie Adams, showing Vietnamese General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Viet Cong prisoner named Nguyen Van Lém during the Tet Offensive in 1968.
First of all, intervening would’ve required that Adams take sides, which is the last thing he should be doing as a journalist. (And on what basis should he have decided who the “good guy” is?)
Second, what could he have done to stop the execution from happening? The general had a gun; he was accompanied by a large number of soldiers, who were also armed. Adams, on the other hand, had nothing but a camera. Intervention would’ve meant death.
Past that, there is the fact that a journalist has a responsibility to report events. That’s his job, and the ethical duty to inform the public is one that most journalists take very seriously. If you can do that and save a life at the same time, great. But the fact of being a journalist certainly doesn’t create any specific responsibility to get involved that wouldn’t apply to any other person on the scene.
If you ask whether or not Adams should’ve intervened, you have to ask whether or not any of the shopkeepers or housewives or, for that matter soldier on that street should’ve intervened.
I think it depends on the circumstances. I would be willing to help even if it meant risking my own life, but many people wouldn’t. It’s hard to tell what you will do until that situation comes up though. Many people, myself included, would say yes I will help! But then to actually be there and have the risks facing you…it can change your mind.
If I honestly thought I could save the person, then I would try. But in a situation like that where you would probably be shot for trying, what could you seriously do? If you tried to help that guy, the guy with the gun would just shoot you and then still shoot the other guy… 🙂
I don’t know. You’d be risking your own life to intervene in something like that.
new reporters and camera men are 2 diff ppl
Film it, yo. I’m not risking my life for someone else.
i would film it!
Just being honest…..