Kabul attack – National Press Club calls for clarity on use of photo

The National Press Club has called on The Citizen newspaper to explain itself following allegations that it digitally manipulated its front page photo of Wednesday, 19 September, of the suicide attack on a minibus in Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday.

According to social media conversations and industry talk, an executive editorial decision was made to use the photo, supplied by Agence France Presse, but to manipulate it to block out the bodies of victims of the attack. This, allegedly, was done in spite of photographers calling for the use of an alternative photo.

Chairperson Antoinette Slabbert says manipulating news photographs goes against the rules of ethical journalism. “News photographers are, in essence, journalists who work in pictures. Manipulating photos that portray facts seems totally unethical. We believe The Citizen, if it did not want to show dead bodies in the photo, should have chosen to use an alternative photo instead. We call on the newspaper to explain this to the media fraternity and its readers.

“Photographers and journalists have to adhere to strict ethical standards when doing their job and we believe they should be allowed to speak up when their rights are affected. The National Press Club will continue to be vocal on issues affecting ethics in the journalism profession.”