Did the Flemish press go too far?

The Flemish Media Minister Ingrid Lieten has expressed her indignation about the fact that some newspapers published the photos and names of the children that perished in Tuesday's bus crash. The minister points to the aspect of privacy, but the editor-in-chief of Het Nieuwsblad argues "we were not acting as sensation mongers."

Yesterday morning, Het Nieuwsblad was the first newspaper to bring photos of all the children that perished in the disaster. The paper showed little pictures in black and white on its front page. Het Laatste Nieuws followed this morning.

Ms Lieten voiced her discontentment through Facebook and Twitter. "There is the right to freedom of information, but there is also the right on privacy. I was filled with a feeling of indignation when I saw the newspapers." The minister also asked the question whether media rules were being violated. Normally, underage victims are not shown, or at least not in a way that they can be recognised or identified by members of the public. "We do have the freedom of press, but that doesn't mean that the press is not subject to any rules." The minister referred to deontology issues.

Liesbeth Van Impe, the editor-in-chief of Het Nieuwsblad, explained that the decision was taken "to capture the impact of the disaster. It's meant as a tribute, and we kept the front page very sober." However, she did admit that the newspaper went close to the edge.