- Is the subject of sufficient social or historic significance to justify the shock?
- Is the objectionable detail necessary to properly understand the event?
- Did the subject consent?
- Is the image expressive of humanity?
I do however feel there is a criteria missing which is the impact on the victims next of kin – which includes aspects of anonymity. In this case the severed limb is essentially anonymous. However Ignatieff also discusses the example of a picture of the beheading of an Australian soldier by a Japanese officer during WWII. In this case I disagree with publication – Ignatieff argues that it underlines the sheer horror of WWII in the far East. Set against that most people can imagine a beheading – to many the very idea carries a sense of revulsion - and I’m not sure what was served by a public display of the death of someone's clearly identifiable son.
In a nutshell the argument is always – does the benefit of publication outweigh the distress caused by publication – and ultimately – while it is possible to identify factors to be considered the decision will always be personal and often political.