The consequences of war are gruesome. Most citizens of a country at war are aware of the costs. Unless a news organizations goal is to get more people to care about these consequences, I would not have published Lance Cpl. Bernard’s pictures. There is no good reason in publishing the image unless to put it at the forefront of people’s mind’s perhaps to affect change in policy or some other underlying agenda. A news organization’s job is to inform strictly for that purpose. So, considering that posting Lance Cpl. Bernard’s image would probably not make a significant amount of unaware people interested, the cost of inflicting more pain on the family outweighs the benefit. People who weren’t interested in the details of war before the image are likely to avoid it because of their predisposition to such things.
Though it could be argued that the people have a right to know and that the family had already seen the image of their fallen child, I would also not post it out of respect for the fallen soldier. Publicizing the image would probably prolong the pain of the family. Considering this, I would be limited by my morals. News organizations also have a responsibility to minimize harm, and publicizing the image would be further injurious to the family.
Plaisance, Patrick Lee. Media Ethics: Key Principles for Responsible Practice. SAGE, 2014.