Letter to the editor: Media irresponsible in coverage of death and kidnapping of Ashlynne Mike

To the editor:

The tragic death of 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike and the kidnapping of her younger brother have left our communities and the entire Navajo Nation in grief and disbelief. This senseless and brutal act has led to continuous news stories with many news outlets rushing to break the latest information.

I would like to say that I understand the rush to be first, but I cannot. As a representative of the community in which Ashlynne was taken and in which she grew up in, I must say that I am deeply troubled and disappointed to see some media outlets continue to share the brutal and tragic details of the last moments of her young life with no regard for the family's privacy or emotional state. While the family, relatives, classmates, and community members continue to shed tears and continue to comfort Ashlynne's brother, I strongly urge certain media outlets to exercise better judgment in their reporting.

I understand that the media will point out their right of freedom of the press, but that liberty should also come with responsibility and a sense of reverence in a situation such as this. Ask any of your viewing audience who are parents if they would like the brutal details of their young child's last moments displayed for public viewing all in the rush to be first. As parents we try to protect our children, to give them opportunities that we did not have, but how can we explain to our children that we cannot protect them from the news media? Some news outlets have shown great irresponsibility by re-victimizing Ashlynne and causing deeper anguish to her family and relatives.

Traditional family ties hold the Navajo Nation together and losing a young innocent life in a senseless manner brings us closer. It will take time to heal our community and Ashlynne's family will never forget her. We will try to understand this tragic event, we will grieve, and we will hold our children closer each night. The community welcomes the support of all who have been there for the family and those who mourn the loss of a young life. Thank you to all who we lean on during this time.

In remembrance of Ashlynne,

Speaker LoRenzo Bates

23rd Navajo Nation Council

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