Should the views of killers be publicised as in the Norway massacre?

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2011, 12:00am


Melody Cheung, 16, St Paul's Secondary School

The massacre in Norway in July, in which scores of young people were gunned down at a summer youth camp, shocked people around the globe. The lone gunman's action has reached far beyond the borders of Norway. Why? Because his hateful views have been widely publicised.

What's worrying is that like-minded people elsewhere might want to follow his example by murdering innocent victims.

Another concern is that the publication of his long manifesto may encourage revenge attacks by people against whom the killer, Anders Behring Breivik, expressed hate-filled views.

Breivik said he went on his murder spree to protest against the spread of Islam in Europe. I am worried that Islamic extremists may use his views as an excuse to carry out terrorist attacks in Europe. This may lead to a vicious cycle of violence.

The killer tried to paint himself as a hero who was trying to save Europe from Islam. Other extremists may feel like imitating him. That would threaten world peace.

In this day and age, people stress the importance of 'freedom of speech' and the media advocates the 'public's right to know'. Yet some people use these arguments to support the publication of dangerous ideas.

I believe that sometimes public security takes priority over freedom of speech. We must do our best to stop hate speech from spreading so that it won't inspire would-be murderers and claim yet more innocent victims.

Public safety is more important than people's hateful views so we should not air such views.

Charmain Li, 17, Sha Tin College

Utoya shooting in July raised issues about whether such killers should be allowed to express their views to the public.

Some people might fear that publicising the views of such people might encourage others to copy their actions. However, allowing the killer to express his or her views can educate the public on how these extremists see things. It will also help the government to address these issues and rectify the problem.

Even if there is absolutely no justification for the actions of the killer, like in the case of the Norway massacre, I think their views should be made public. This is because the authorities can analyse the killer's statements and take action to minimise the probability of a similar tragedy happening again.

Moreover, it is also important for the public to know the reason behind the killer's actions. Instead of sweeping the matter under the rug, social problems that underline such incidents must be addressed before they become worse.

By publicising Anders Behring Breivik's views, the media has given power to what Breivik calls his ?propaganda?, but also sparked debate over Europe's multiculturalism and Islamophobia, possibly leading to more long-term solutions to this deep-rooted matter.