Should it have been posted? NY Post Publishes Image of Man About to Be Killed by Train

4th Dec 2012

Image Courtesy of the New York Post

NEW YORK - The cover photo for Tuesday’s New York Post has sparked controversy and major media attention for its ethical implications. 

Passenger Ki Suk Han was pushed onto a New York City subway track, where he met his death by an oncoming train. A freelance photographer for the New York Post, R. Umar Abbasi, saw the events unfolding and pulled out his camera as the train approached.

Abbasi told reporters he thought the use of his camera’s flash might alert the train conductor to stop before hitting the man. The train allegedly appeared to slow as the man attempted to hoist himself back on the platform – but to no avail.

While Abbasi claims the photographs were incidental, a striking photograph of the oncoming train nearing Han was nevertheless printed on the front page of Tuesday’s Post.

Since its publication, criticism and debate abound as to the ethical implications behind both taking and publishing the images.  Resulting discussions on Twitter showed predominantly critical of the action, often shedding Abbasi’s judgement call in a negative light.

NY Post Twitter

In an interview with the New York Times, the photographer stated, “I’m being unfairly beaten up in the press.”

Abbasi said when he saw Han fall onto the tracks, no other bystanders looked to help and, instead, ran away. He said he began to fire his camera’s flash – with him for to cover another assignment – to warn the incoming train. “I was not aiming to take a photograph of the man on the track,” and his camera remained far from his face, he told reporters.

Further, the photographers said he was not a part of the decision on whether or not to publish the image.

What do you think of the image? Should it have been taken, and should it have been published? 


December 2012
Author: Kaley Sweeney