The Sun draws heavy criticism for its Oscar Pistorius/Reeva Steenkamp bikini front page

The death of Reeva Steenkamp, girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius, is tragic in its own before-her-time right. But now, media publications are drawing heat for the way they are using Steenkamp's portfolio of modeling photos to tout the story.

Great Britain's The Sun newspaper has drawn severe rebuke for its Friday front page, which used a photograph of Steenkamp in a bikini, along with some severely purple prose, to report on Pistorius' arrest. Not to be outdone, New York City's tabloids took the exact same approach.

You can see the top third of the Sun's cover above. For the full version, click on the photo.

Government officials, columnists and readers attacked The Sun for its editorial judgment, with one writer even calling it "lechery over a corpse." Others noted that The Sun didn't publish photographs of a pregnant Duchess of Cambridge but had no problem showing the victim of a murder in a bikini.

On the flip side, these are legitimately obtained photographs, and the victim was indeed a bikini model. The photographs are not of a crime scene or anything violent. Sure, it's in bad taste to run sexy photos of her, but isn't bad taste by definition a matter of opinion?

The Pistorius story is only just beginning. By the time it's done, this is likely to be just a minor blip. Without any other hard information, though, it's the story of the moment.

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