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September 18, 2006

Another Angle on 'Fauxtography'

This Pullitzer Prize-winning photo by detained AP photographer Bilal Hussein had caught the attention of the blogosphere

Today AP reports on the U.S. military's detention of its photographer Bilal Hussein, a native of Fallujah. The military charges that he has close relationships with "persons known to be responsible for kidnappings, smuggling, improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and other attacks on coalition forces." Whether or not Hussein is guilty as charged, his case raises important questions about the impartiality of local journalists reporting on conflicts. The article states:

The AP does not knowingly hire combatants or anyone who is part of a story, company executives said. But hiring competent local staff in combat areas is vital to the news service, because often only local people can pick their way around the streets with a reasonable degree of safety.

"We want people who are not part of a story. Sometimes it is a judgment call. If someone seems to be thuggish, or like a fighter, you certainly wouldn't hire them," Daniszewski said. After they are hired, their work is checked carefully for signs of bias.

Lyon said every image from local photographers is always "thoroughly checked and vetted" by experienced editors. "In every case where there have been images of insurgents, questions have been asked about circumstances under which the image was taken, and what the image shows," he said.

The blogosphere which so commendably exposed the "fauxtography" scandal, including the photoshopped work of Adnan Hajj, a Lebanese employee of Reuters, also has some questions about the work of AP's Hussein.

Posted by TS at September 18, 2006 05:50 AM


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