Saturday 11 March 2017

Missing details

The detail given in the reporting of the axe-attack at a train station in Düsseldorf has varied from media organisation to media organisation, as usual. 

The Daily Telegraph, for instance, reports that the suspect is "a mentally ill asylum seeker", "a 36-year-old man from Kosovo", "named locally as Fatmir H, (who) came to Germany in 2009 and was granted temporary residency for humanitarian reasons". 

The BBC News website is much more tight-lipped, merely reporting that the suspect is a "36-year-old...from the former Yugoslavia (who) suffers from psychological problems".

The BBC article stresses that "the motive for the attack is unclear, and police are not describing it as being related to terrorism", adding that "German federal police earlier tweeted a warning to the public not to engage in speculation". 

The BBC is doubtless following the German police's example by choosing not to name the suspect, or the part of the former Yugoslavia he came from, or his "asylum seeker" status, lest BBC website readers start engaging in certain kinds of speculation themselves.

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