In the current times of information overload and in which news (or hoaxes) of all kinds jump from mobile to mobile through WhatsApp or social networks, knowing how to choose what is and what is not news is one of the keys to journalism. This choice is not limited to the pages of the newspaper, but the digital edition is the main battlefront.
Subscriber Stephen Waller wrote to me a few weeks ago to regret that a bloody video of an attack on a woman in China had been published on the La Vanguardia website.
The images had been posted on Twitter in 2019 by a Civil Guard agent, who claimed that the attack had taken place in Canet de Mar and that the perpetrator was an immigrant minor. This November he was tried and sentenced to 15 months in prison for spreading fake news accompanied by xenophobic expressions. In the images of the attack published in La Vanguardia together with the information from the trial, some texts indicating that they were a hoax were superimposed from the outset, since the event had not occurred in Catalonia.
Waller, in any case, wondered "why is it in the readers' interest" to play the 45-second sequence that "shows how a man assaults a woman with 15 punches to the head followed by seven kicks also to the head until he leaves her." unconscious".
After receiving your email, a few initial seconds were added to the video with the warning that the images could hurt the sensibilities of the readers, but the reflection of this subscriber is very necessary.
From the newspaper's video team, they explain that there are many occasions when audiovisual material is discarded due to its violence or harshness, but when it is considered that a video, due to its informative interest, should be published, the image warning is introduced delicate and parts of the sequence are deleted or pixelated. It is a decision that is made on a case-by-case basis and in which a balance is sought between showing reality without sweetening it and not crossing the barrier of respect for the victims. The images that arrive daily from the war in Ukraine are one of the cases they deal with on a daily basis.
In addition to these assessments, in relation to the video of the attack in China that went viral as if it had happened in Canet and that reached more than 20,000 people, the battle against disinformation also comes into play.
Could spreading the images again through La Vanguardia with a “false video” sign help to disprove the hoax? Possibly yes, but surely it was not necessary to reproduce the entire sequence nor is it necessary for them to continue to be published indefinitely, which is why they have already been withdrawn from the web.