Grief Journalism, Physical Intrusion, and Loss: The Pike River Coal Mine Disaster
In Andrew T Kenyon (ed) Comparative Defamation and Privacy Law (Cambridge University Press) Forthcoming
12 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2015 Last revised: 25 Mar 2019
Date Written: March 17, 2015
This chapter examines the impact of intense media interest on the family members and friends of people killed in high profile disasters. It sets out the preliminary results of a study into the effect of intense media interest on the family and friends of the men lost at Pike River. The study raises a plethora of legal and ethical questions about the behaviour of journalists and reporters in the aftermath of tragedy. This paper focuses on just one of them: the participants’ concerns about the media’s physical presence in the aftermath of the explosions. The discussion will explain the nature of those concerns and show how the participants’ responses to them reinforce theorists’ views about the importance of privacy in maintaining a sense of dignity, security, and autonomy. The paper furthers the study’s ultimate aim of using the experience of the Pike River families to gain deeper understanding of the effect of the media on those experiencing trauma and loss, and to ask what, if anything, should be done to change media behaviour.
Keywords: Privacy, media intrusion, intrusion, grief, disaster, photograph, dignity, autonomy.
JEL Classification: k00, K10, K13, K19, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation