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Fake News Photograph

tva 15 307
4 Apr 2003 8:07PM
Surfing on the net tonight, came across the following story. A news photographer working for the LA times filed a composite picture on the war in Iraq. He was subsequently fired when it was discovered. See luminous-landscape/essays/fake for the story and the pictures.
Now in this digital age I manipulate my own images and even submit them in competion. However I was horrified to know that a manipulated photo had been shown on a newspaper front page as true news. If it becomes a regular occurence, who can we trust.
What do the panel think of the moral and ethical implications of this?

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User_Removed 16 7.3k 6 United Kingdom
4 Apr 2003 8:54PM
Hi Terry

This story has been around for a couple of days now. It obviously has serious implications hence the action taken by the LA Times although in this particular instance, the truth of the story was not altered. The change was made to make a more exciting picture. The principal holds true however that a picture cannot be altered when you are trying to depict an actual event (mind you, telling the truth has never been an issue with most Journalists just photographers it seems)

If anyone is interested in the photographs, you can see them by clicking here
J-P 15 396
4 Apr 2003 9:28PM
Very interesting, and thanks for the link Barrie. The tone and message of the new photo is quite different. It could open the door for all sorts of manipulated truths - bigger brighter explosions, more/less dead bodies.

Perhaps sacking him was a bit harsh, but in principle I'm with the LA Times. Compared with some of the lies and misinformation we're being told by our leaders, I think a slap on wrist would have been enough.
SuziBlue 15 16.2k 10 Scotland
6 Apr 2003 7:42PM
Hmmmm I'm with the LA Times too. It possibly was harsh to sack the photographer although with the current all-time low world opinion of certain US TV news channels with their war-happy TV coverage it was possibly an attempt to use the event to show that some US media have some scruples - and to try and set a precedent for other US media outlets. Just a thought. Possibly too hopeful.

War documentary is obscene and disturbing enough without attempts to make it more media-juicy. To my mind the war photojournalists / correspondents with the highest integrity are those who tell it like it is. No frills. No souped-up war rhetoric whether that's in words or pictures. They feel their job is a kind of privilege. To see people killed and maimed and to see the effects on families and communities is a dreadful thing and they tell these people's stories truthfully, with compassion and respect. No tweaking to up the ratings.
ella 15 43
8 Apr 2003 11:05PM
The whole media / iraq thing is making me very angry. We unfortunately lost several of my husbands colleagues and friends in the recent helicopter crash off HMS Ark Royal, and following the event journalists and cameras were everywhere. I understand that they have a job to do, but invading privacy when there is so much emotion and grief was terrible. I even had a journalist contact my mother to see if she could get the names of those killed from me!

Also, I turned on the TV as my children were in the room (aged 4 and 2) in the afternoon recently to be faced with blood splattering all over a camera and dead / dying people strewn around. This would not be allowed on TV at this time if it were fiction, and is not suitable for TV during a family viewing time. I was horrified.
User_Removed 16 7.3k 6 United Kingdom
9 Apr 2003 11:45AM
I know we are venturing a bit off topic however...

There is a terrible irony here isn't there. As a species, we are so news hungry and the newshounds of all nations are just satisfying that hunger. Today the news has come of journalists being killed by a US tank shell. What on earth are the jounalists doing on a battleground. If this was WWII Germany, they would have been locked up or shot as spies. If they get injured or killed on the battlefield then it has to be accepted as one of the terrible things that happen during a war (I am not getting into the rights or wrongs of this particular conflict).

It reminds me of all the furore over that doyen of the press and master manipulator Diana, Princess of Wales, both before and after her death. Public ourage at the behaviour of the photographers that allegedly led to the 'accident' that caused her death was immense and yet you have to ask why were they photographing her? Because Joe Public snapped up pictures of her and papers/magazines carrying pictures of her by the million.

It really is a double edged sword. We can condemn journalists for their intrusion and for bringing us terrible scenes night after night but are they really any more at fault than those of us who watch them.

I remember a pschycological experiment where a series of people (male and female) were placed in a room with a selection of books and magazines. They thought hey were just waiting to be interviewed for a television programme or something similar.

Anyhow, amongst those books/magazines was one magazine containing very explicit pornography. Without exception, everyone loooked through the magazine. This included both the men and women.

My point is, don't condemn those that bring us the news. It's your choice to read about it or to view it. The anger might be better placed at those whose actions or inactions led to this situation in the first place.

ella 15 43
9 Apr 2003 3:58PM
I disagree with your point about choice. I had put the TV on expecting to find children's programmes - not death and blood. I do not criticise the actual reports, but the timing.
User_Removed 16 7.3k 6 United Kingdom
9 Apr 2003 4:19PM
Understand your concern - but I suppose you could turn the TV off or change channel?
Pete Plus
17 18.8k 97 England
9 Apr 2003 4:26PM
It's like when you pass a serious road accident while driving on the motorway. Who doesn't look as you pass? I imagine very few!
ella 15 43
9 Apr 2003 7:02PM
I guess that you don't have children Barrie. If you put the TV on to watch a children's programme the few seconds that they see of shocking images before you get to the power switch are all that it takes for them to be disturbed.

Fortunately my children are closely supervised. There will have been many parents who send their slightly older children to watch TV after school whilst they cook their suppoer and will have not been aware what the children are watching.
SuziBlue 15 16.2k 10 Scotland
9 Apr 2003 8:46PM
Just another thought ..

You're right, there is a terrible irony. If we choose to switch on the world news we're likely to be given - for example - images of shellshocked terrified children caught up in horror right before their eyes .. and they live with that in their faces minute by minute. Who are we protecting by tucking them behind visual restrictions or watersheds ...
madala 15 9
9 Apr 2003 11:58PM
Hi all
I have watched this thread develop with great interest. I did not think it would develop with the passion it has.
I don't think that it has gone off topic, because it is still discussing the important issue of how news images...... and to take it further.... all images are percieved by us.
Photographers should be passionate about images and should have stong oppinions about how they affect society.
Once I am sure that I have all my facts right I will post my opinnion.....quiet day tommorrow so hopefully tommorrow night.
But lets all remember that we can voice our opinions here, and although we may not agree we should respect as all ephotozine members seem to do, even when we don't agree.
Just to qualify things,for the back lash I expect, I have three daughters.......one quite young.. and I have .......sadly photographed the remains and survivors of explosions.

J-P 15 396
10 Apr 2003 12:06PM
Who can forget Nic Ut's famous photograph of Kim Phuc running naked down a Vietnamese road after being napalmed by the USA.

That was not voyeurism. That photo appeared on every cover the next day and changed the course of the world opinion.

No attempt should be made to sanitize war. Hats off to those like Nic Ut and Terry Lloyd who risk their lives to bring us the truth. Else we go back to the oil painters of the Crimean war.
SteveCharles 15 2.3k 18 England
10 Apr 2003 1:10PM
Ella is absolutely right in that she should be able to protect her child from disturbing images. But whether we like it or not, we SHOULD be shown the true details.

We see a watered down version of events. Because the fighting isn't happening here, it's easy to forget that as a country we are actually at war at the moment.

I went to the Photographers Gallery in London on Saturday, where there is an exibition of photographs of the Israel/Palestine conflict. There are very real pictures, of fighting, war-torn towns, dead civilians (including children). Some quite disturbing, but much more thought provoking than most things we see in the news.
Big Bri 17 16.3k United Kingdom
10 Apr 2003 8:32PM
I'm with Ella on this one. Sure, we need to see the truth of what is going on out there, but 24 hour news coverage is not necessary, especially when children may be watching. My 6 year old has seen things on TV accidentally, which have been switched off straight away, and she has asked me about it weeks later.

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