Recently, a rather unique story promptly surfaced thanks to the perseverance and subtle manipulation of the British media. Endless headlines informed the British public about a severely ill child that had been taken by his parents from a hospital in Southampton, without the permission of the doctors at the hospital.
Ashya King was reported as being ‘kidnapped’ by his Jehovah’s Witness parents creating mass distress among the public. A tidal wave of concern rippled among the British public as it was revealed that Ashya had recently undergone crucial brain surgery in an attempt to reduce the brain tumour that he was suffering with.
Shortly after the press launched a campaign to find the parents of ‘kidnapped’ Ashya King, the family were located in Spain reporting to be safe and sound. A video released by Ashya’s parents demonstrated his obvious safety and well being as he was sat with them.
The video provided the child’s parents with an opportunity to explain how the youngster was safe and was even receiving the same treatment as he was accustomed to in hospital. The video took a shocking turn as Ashya’s parents explained the difficulties that they faced with UK doctors. Ashya’s father Brett, explained how UK doctors had ignored his important questions about the life threatening medical treatment that Ashya would potentially be facing. Furthermore, Brett began inquiring about alternative treatments that could be beneficial to the youngster. However, these treatments (that had been posted online as being successful with some patients in other countries) were deemed as insufficient and ineffective by UK doctors.
After feeling threatened by the questions which Ashya’s parents understandably presented , the doctor that was dealing with the child’s case informed the parents that the hospital would place a protection order on the youngster, meaning that his parents would be unable to withdraw him from his treatment or visit him on the ward. Promptly after, Ashya’s parents took him from hospital and the British media broke into a frenzy.
In the video, Brett King clearly states that his child’s well being is at the forefront of his mind and his only wish is to attempt to seek alternative treatments for his ill child. By using words such as ‘kidnapped’ and by constantly mentioning the child’s fragile state and deteriorating illness, the media helped to encourage something that resembled an awful witch-hunt against the parents who only want the best for their son.
It seems baffling that Ashya’s parents have been labelled as kidnappers when they were clearly put in a heart-wrenching position regarding the status of their ill child.
Stories such as this help to demonstrate how impetuous the media can be. Non-surprisingly, shortly after more facts have been released to the public (thanks to Brett’s video), multiple members of the public (including the CPS and various MPs) have now launched a campaign demanding freedom for Ashya’s parents who are currently being held after being arrested and unable to reach their child.
Of course, there are many depths to a news story and it is incredibly difficult to know the full scope of a story without a full investigation. However, what is evident is how quickly the media can jump onto a story and label individuals (in this case who are vulnerable), leaving a more permanent mark than that of which they are aware.
You can find the link to Brett King’s plea here.