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World - Americas

Colombia's violent images -- TV news in black and white

News
News about death and violence in Colombia will come in black and white  
VIDEO
CNN's Frida Ghitis looks at a change in reporting stories of death and violence in Colombia
Windows Media 28K 80K

September 3, 1999
Web posted at: 12:00 a.m. EDT (0400 GMT)

From Correspondent Frida Ghitis

BOGATA, Colombia (CNN) -- In response to growing concerns and viewer complaints about graphic, often violent images that dominate television screens, news reports about death and violence in Colombia now will be shown in black and white.

Responding to public outcry from viewers tired of a civil war and fed up with some of the most gruesome television pictures anywhere in the world, television officials took action.

"It's time to tone it down," one man said. "The media need to make a decision against violence."

"They're going too far," one woman said. "You have children watching TV, and all you see is violence and corruption."

While compromising on the issue concerning the use of black and white pictures, news directors say their job is to tell the story.

"I think here and everywhere a journalist's job is to tell the truth," RCN News Director Daniel Coronel said. "We don't look for violence. It's just the painful reality we live in Colombia."

But critics say there are limits.

"That is a cynical posture. You have to show reality. The question is how do you bring it to viewers," TV critic German Rey said.

Colombian television photographers capture graphic images of massacres, morgues and grieving families virtually every day. Since most of the news is about violence, that means Colombia's newscasts now will be mostly in black and white.


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