This blog explores the contemporary political and cultural trends from a distinct perspective
Debate over the photo of Joshua
Published on September 5, 2009 By Bahu Virupaksha In Current Events

The war in Afghanistan is getting uglier by the day and NATO casualities are mounting. The US forces are finding the job of fighting in Afghanistan so difficult that the policy makers in US are slowly becoming aware of ther folly of supporting the mujahudeen against the Soviets. The insurgency is becoming more sophisticated and the Taliban are learning the lessons from Iraq very well. If domestic support for the war evaporates upon mounting casualities then US and NATO troops will withdraw. In a recent air strike NATO forces killed more than 100 civilians and Karzai, though he claims to have won the elections, commands so little credibility that his writ does not even extend beyond the Presidential Palace in central Kabul.

The picture published by Associated Press showns Lance Corporal Joshua Bernard lying wounded after being hit by a rocket propelled grenade and even as his fellow marines were tending the soldier, a phot of the soldier was ffaashed, even as he lay dying. Personally, I feel that the picture was in bad taste, but then the western media does this all the time. The Secretary of Defence, Dr Robert Gates requested AP not to publish the picture, but they went ahead claiming "freedom of the press".

Such picture will undermine public support for the war and hence the extreme caution with regard to theior publication. I did not want to put the picture in this blog because I feel that the wishes of the family have to be respected.

on Sep 06, 2009

No they didn't violate any journalistic "ethics."

I saw the picture.  Couldn't look away from it.

As a mother I grieve with his family.

As a journalist I want to the world to "see" the war as it really is, not sugar coated, so people can make-up their own minds.

As the wife of a solider I think its probably a good thing America doesn't forget what these guys are facing on a daily basis.  When they come back and have issues mentally and physically, people need a frame of reference lest they forget.

Ultimately every horrible picture involves someone's family.  Do we not show pictures of the holocaust because they are painful?  Do we erase and white wash history because it hurts?

Pictures are worth more than a thousand words, and sometimes more than a million tears.

We're paying for this war, with money, with blood.  Occasionally seeing pictures imo is a proper part of checks and balances.


on Sep 06, 2009

Well, aside from the irony of 'Associated Press' and 'journalistic ethics' appearing in the same sentence, I mostly agree with Tova.  I tend to defer to those bearing the direct brunt, such as Tova, in such matters.  The moral dilemma arises from the fact that the family of that soldier disagreed and asked that it not be published.

What I wish AP would do is be a consistent and honest broker of news.  Alas, we can only wish.

Tova - to you and your husband, thank you for your service to our Country.

on Sep 08, 2009

My point ofview is slightly different. Ihave not suggested self-censorship on the part of the print media, I think the momen of death and the pain it causes hve to be respected that is why the face of the dead is covered.

Well is is a complex issue.