The role of the media
Shaylyn McMahon, NEWS COLUMNIST
On Feb. 14, Winnipeg Transit driver Irvine Jubal Fraser was stabbed to death while on the job.
On Feb. 16, the Winnipeg Free Press released an article reporting that, at the time of his death, Fraser was out on bail and awaiting trial for child sex abuse allegations.
The Free Press turned off comments from the story about Fraser’s allegations on its website, but many shared their opinions through comments on the story’s Facebook post. There’s a mix of opinions, but some people expressed their dislike of the Free Press for reporting on the allegations against Fraser.
Numerous comments mirror this one from Jason St-Onge: “What does this have to do with his murder? Is the Free Press linking it to his death?? Or is this just pathetic reporting?”
So, is this just pathetic reporting? I don’t think so.
The media’s job is to tell stories and report on facts objectively. It’s up to the public to form opinions based on those facts.
It’s ignorant not to acknowledge the incredible power media outlets have. A simple choice in words can encourage readers to believe a certain way, but if the media outlet is as objective as possible and has proof behind its facts, it’s doing its job.
There’s never only one side to a story, and the Free Press is bringing more information to light on a very emotional story for Winnipeggers and Canadians alike.
The Free Press didn’t allude that the allegations against Fraser had anything to do with his murder; rather it raised more questions regarding transit safety and regulations.
Should Fraser have been allowed to continue working while awaiting trial? If the Amalgamated Transit Union in Winnipeg had been aware of the allegations, would Fraser still be alive?
There’s no denying the senselessness of Fraser’s murder, or the seriousness of the allegations against him, but if the Free Press had learned about his allegations and kept them quiet, would that be in the public’s best interest?
Through two GoFundMe pages, Canadians raised more than $38,000, and both the Amalgamated Transit Union of Winnipeg and Canada are calling for more security for transit drivers.
Because of this, it appears that Fraser’s death was not in vain, and that many people are continuing to support and rally against his murder. And at least they’re doing so while knowing the whole story.