Manchester bombing: Why the ‘New York Times’ should not be blamed for printing leaked information

Manchester bombing: Why the ‘New York Times’ should not be blamed for printing leaked information

An editor’s first instinct is always to publish. And the news executives at the New York Times would not have had to think too long and hard about the ethical issues when images from the investigation into the Manchester bombing landed on their desks.

It would have been a very different matter had the leak been to a paper in Manchester or London, where the shock of what happened is palpable and the sense of hurt and harm is very close to home – even among journalists hardened to atrocities such as this. But even here, the imperative to publish would have been strong, and the images have been carried by the British press.

Once, it may have been possible to contain a leak of this nature. But in today’s news environment – where traditional news organisations are competing with new media players – it is no longer feasible for the authorities to appeal to the “better nature” of journalists in the interests of “the public good”.

Editors will be conscious of appeals to stay their hand in matters of national security – but within the boundaries of sovereign nations. Making an appeal of this nature to a publication in a different jurisdiction – and one like the United States where press freedom is enshrined in the constitution – is much more difficult.

Stopping the spill

Once a leak has happened, it is impossible to contain the spill. If the New York Times had not published, someone else would have. And they may have done it in a way that was more disrespectful to the bereaved and injured; and in a manner that sensationalised the material.

In a free society, leaks will always be one of the sources news organisations rely on for their stories. Gone are the days when a chancellor of the exchequer would feel impelled to resign because he had mentioned an item in the budget to a journalist when he was on his way to deliver it, as Hugh Dalton did in 1947.

Indeed, leaks now have a special status of their own in the news agenda – leaks by the likes of Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden had a greater impact on the news agenda than the work of many a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

Legitimate source

From the editor’s perspective, of primary importance will be the need to be assured that the material is from a legitimate source. In this case – where the information appears to have come from official intelligence sources – the New York Times will have been easily satisfied about the veracity of the material.

The motivation for the leak will also have been taken into consideration. Journalists know that sometimes they are being used. In this case, the motivation is still unclear. And on the face of it, it looks like the material was being shared just because it could be. Even if, as an editor, you know you are being played as part of a bigger game, you might well decide to go to press in any case if the information is clearly in the public interest.

Far removed from the scene of this particular crime, the New York Times will have been less concerned about the impact its story will have had on those who are suffering after this atrocity. A British editor would have almost certainly have considered the issues about intrusion on grief, which is covered by the IPSO editor’s code.

They will certainly have been swayed by concern over the impact on the investigation. But they would also be conscious that if the material is out there someone will use it.

Only those close to the victims will be able to say whether this adds to their sense of loss or not. In many cases, families want to know everything they can – sometimes it is a way of sharing the pain of the loved one they have lost. A vacuum is often worse.

Public interest

In terms of the public interest – this is undoubtedly one of those cases where the need to know is not driven by prurience or the desire for salacious gossip. The importance of the story is perhaps less in what it says about the bomber and his crime, but more about the fitness of international intelligence agencies to meet the threat of terrorism.

It also tells us much about the relationship between Britain and America – particularly as the leak came after home secretary Amber Rudd’s blunt warning over the leaking of the bomber’s name.

And it reveals a dysfunctional relationship between those charged – on both sides of the Atlantic – with keeping us safe and secure. In bringing that to public light, the New York Times may well have done us all a service. This is a faultline in the fight against terror that needs to be fixed.

The ethical dilemma here rests not with the press, but with the people who decided to share intelligence that had been given to them in confidence. Don’t shoot the messenger.

Tom Collins, Professorial Teaching Fellow, Communications, Media and Culture, University of Stirling.

This article first appeared on The Conversation.


Overseas aid ‘should focus on education’, say MPs

South Sudan

The UK’s overseas aid budget should target more of its funding towards education projects, says a cross-party committee of MPs.

The international development committee says the proportion spent on education should be lifted from 8% to 10%.

There are 250 million children around the world without access to school – and efforts to tackle this have been “shamefully underfunded”, say MPs.

Committee chair Stephen Twigg warned of a “global learning crisis”.

The select committee says that the Department for International Development’s spending on education is £526m per year – less than on supporting health, civil society and intervention in disasters.

  • UN warns of schools lost in conflict
  • Who really paid up to help Syria’s refugees?
  • Does the UK give more aid than other countries?

But the MPs say that in terms of long-term impact, investing in education will reap dividends in preventing conflict, improving life chances and improving economic development.

Mr Twigg says: “Education has been shamefully neglected by the international community and many national governments.”

The committee heard that there had been a “clear decline in international aid spending on education since 2011”.

“Even though we know the benefits of education, there is not enough funding from the international community to deliver this, particularly in the low-income countries which need most support,” said Mr Twigg.

Former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, told the committee that such development funding suffered from being “short-term and unpredictable”.

“We cannot forever continue with this situation where the only way we fund humanitarian aid, whether it be for education, health, shelter or food, is through a begging bowl,” said Mr Brown.

Earlier this week, Unicef warned that warfare and conflict are preventing 25 million young people from getting any access to school, particularly in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

In south Sudan, Unicef says almost three-quarters of primary-school-age children are missing out on education.

The international community set targets for universal primary education to be achieved by 2000 and then 2015, which, despite progress being made, were both missed.

The current target, part of the sustainable development goals, aims for this to be fully achieved by 2030.

However, Unesco, the UN agency that monitors global access to education, warned last autumn that, on current trends, the target was already unlikely to be achieved.

The international development committee says that funding would need to be more than doubled to achieve the international goals for education.

Figures from the OECD have shown that the UK is one of the biggest providers of international aid, both in cash terms and as a proportion of national wealth.

An analysis of international support for Syria’s refugees also showed that the UK was among the countries that had met their funding pledges, while a number of countries still had to deliver the aid they had announced.

A DFID spokesperson said the department was “proud to have supported over 11 million children in primary and lower secondary education from 2011-2015”.


Careful Research should precede your Engineering Admission

Engineering is a high paying and highly prestigious profession.  If you look at the data and statistics coming out in the past few years, you will see that engineering is the most popular undergraduate professional courses. The number of engineering students taking various competitive engineering entrance examinations is more than that of any other competitive exams. Last year alone, over one and half million candidates sat for Joint Entrance Examinations (JEE) conducted by CBSE for admission to highly prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and other prestigious engineering schools. This made it one of the largest competitive entrance examinations in the world.  Apart from JEE, there are other national and state level engineering tests which determine a student’s ability to successfully complete the rigorous program. Then there are also some government and private colleges and universities which conduct their own test to assess an aspirant’s logical and critical thinking abilities—two very important attributes of successful engineers.

If you are interested in studying engineering in Gurgaon, you can take the help of Internet or talk to your teachers, friends and family members about quality B. Tech engineering colleges in Gurgaon.  You can prepare a list of quality engineering colleges and then could visit them personally to find more about their infrastructure, teaching standards, placement record, quality of faculty, etc. It is of utmost importance that you spend some time and other resources looking conducting your research about the engineering schools in mind before making the final commitment.

Please remember that obtaining an engineering degree will place heavy demand on your time and investment. Engineering schools have massively hiked their tuition fees in recent times which mean that you need to be more vigilant and careful about your choice. Money though can be recovered maybe later than sooner, or you can afford to write it off, but the time lost can never be replenished. Losing four years of your life pursuing a degree which commands little or no value in the job market can destroy both your career and your life. It is therefore strongly recommended that careful research about an engineering institute should be the most integral part of your engineering application process. B Tech admission in Gurgaon or for that matter taking admission in any engineering college in India should be done after careful deliberation and taking into accounts various important factors.

A good quality engineering school possess the capability and the potential to give you an engineering education that equips you with all the knowledge and skills to succeed as an engineer in a rapidly evolving technological environment.  Top rated engineering schools offer high-flying campus placements with top firms operating with their headquarters in India and abroad. They also offer exceptionally good return on investment (ROI) which allows you to pay your tuition fees in quick time.

Apart from your choice of engineering college or university, you also need to pay attention to your choice of engineering branch. There are over 20 engineering majors and it is normal for an engineering aspirant to be overwhelmed by it. You need to choose an engineering branch after carefully assessing your strengths, interest and aptitude for a particular engineering major.

Should you become best friends with web design? [Sponsored]


Chances are if you’re currently in business, you have a website. If not, it might be a good idea for you to think of creating one soon, or hiring a company or web designer to make one. This is because websites are great tools that often help businesses reach a higher level of success.

Because of this, it’s rare to find someone who thinks of the idea of having a business website as a waste of time or an ill fated venture. Instead, websites are looked upon as a must have and a valuable part of a business.

With that said however, the question then lies in whether you should continue your website (or create it in the first place) with the help of a website designer or if you should do everything yourself. If you’ve got some form of website design experience that you feel is comparable to that of a website design company, then by all means, go ahead. However, for the rest of us, it might be a better idea to go ahead and hire some outside help. So the question begs, should you become best friends with web design or should you allow someone else to become fast friends with your website?

Your time table

If you’ve got a strict time table to get your website up and running or you only have a short amount of time to design and implement a redesign, you’re most likely going to want to hire a web designer to complete your vision. This is because as you’re putting time and effort into your website, you’re most likely taking valuable and needed time away from the other aspects of your business that could be equally as important.

For example, if you have orders that need to be boxed up and shipped out, and you’re instead spending that time working on your website (causing a delay in shipping), you’ll find that your customers won’t be very happy. This in the end could cause a lot of harm to your business, including bad reviews that drive away future potential customers.

Your experience

If you have a good amount of prior website experience, including that of website design, you may already be best friends with the field. However, if you’ve got little to no experience, the next step is to figure out how much time you have to devote to learning the trade.

If you’ve yet to establish your business and you’ve got some time to figure things out, then you may find that learning about web design and putting that newly learned knowledge into play may be the best route to go.

Your money

If you’re a new business with little extra money to spend on hiring outside help, then you’ll want to first try to develop a website using a simple template that you can easily learn and build upon. Then after a while, when your business starts to see a nice sized revenue, you can then hire someone to come in and redesign your website.

On the other hand, if you’re a business that has more of a financial cushion, hiring a website designer could be one of the best investments you’ve ever made, and one that you should seriously consider.

Sometimes three isn’t always a crowd. In fact, in the world of websites, there is often another person involved, whether it is a web designer, a logo maker, a social media strategist, an SEO consultant or a writer. Depending on your experience level, the amount of time you have and your business’s finances, you may find that being best friends with web design isn’t really the