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Laila Escartín-Sorjonen Headshot

The Irresponsibility of the Yellow Press

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It's a regular Tuesday morning, and I walk towards the office. The sun shines shyly from amidst a thickening curtain of whitish clouds. The air is crisp. Autumn is here and I feel good.

But then my eyes catch a sequence of black print-letters on a laminated sheet that stands on a post in front of the kiosk: '19-year-old Jenny found stabbed in her sleeping bag'. My irrational claustrophobic fears assault me, and I think of all the kids going or coming from school reading that horrendous title and feeling scared to go again to camp and slipping into their sleeping bags. It makes me mad.

How is it possible that the authorities permit this sort of messages to be shown publicly on the streets? Have they never thought of the consequences they have on the psyche of children? Even I, a middle-aged woman with quite a lot of experience in life, feel very bad when my eyes meet against my will this sinister news. So, what evil is it doing to tender innocent young minds? Does the yellow press have a right to force people to read this sort of ghastly information? Could this be controlled somehow; isn´t there something analogous with the authorities putting an age limit to films? These pieces of news are not adequate for children to see, so, they should by no means be exposed in places where children can see them by merely passing by.

I am not a friend of censorship, but I am of the opinion that it's our duty to protect children from what is harmful for them, and the titles of the yellow press are most of the times very harmful. It's not even necessary to forbid the yellow press writing about these horrid things, but they should keep the morbid and scatological news in the inner pages, and show on titles news that are apt for kids that can read. If adults enjoy reading about murderers and rapists, well, let them, but do not force children to read them. Besides, I think it's not even a good idea to write about murderers, it just gives them the visibility and fame many of them crave. And it can give bad ideas to budding criminals. Why make a star of a murderer? It makes me feel sick.

Keeping silent would be a more efficient punishment to those who attack society and its well-being.