With winners in several of the annual photojournalism competitions being announced, and the NPPA on the verge of judging its own photo competition, once again the public, already skeptical of the idea of journalistic accuracy in photography, is learning that not everyone entering those contests adhered to widely accepted ethical standards in those entries.
In response to a story last week in The New York Times that raised serious ethical questions about the practices of some news photographers in Syria following the death last year in Aleppo of an 18-year-old Reuters freelancer, the news agency issued a statement denying the article’s allegations and refuting any wrongdoing.
After Molhem Barakat, a teenage Syrian photographer who freelanced for Reuters, was killed in December while covering rebel fighting in Aleppo, questions arose in the journalism community about what exactly was going on in Syria with freelancers. Today some of these questions have been answered when The New York Times reported that the Reuters News Picture Service, operated by Thomson Reuters, has been sending their clients news photographs from the Syrian civil war that were shot by "activists" who supported the rebels.
Sean D. Elliot has been appointed to be the chair of the National Press Photographers Association's Ethics & Standards Committee, NPPA president Mark Dolan announced today. Elliot replaces NPPA's long-standing voice of ethics John Long, who announced his retirement from the committee.
For those who are concerned with ethics in photojournalism, the announcement this morning of this year's World Press Photo winners was much anticipated in light of last year's controversy over whether 2012 winner Paul Hansen's top photograph had gone "too far" in digital post production.
There was an interesting confluence of ethics oriented events this week: the Associated Press dismissed a freelancer for digitally altering a photograph; VOGUE magazine retouched a series of photographs of Lena Dunham and was criticized for doing so by another magazine; and an online publication over-processed a photograph of Edward Snowden raising the specter of the famous O.J. Simpson TIME magazine cover.
NPPA Ethics Committee chair John Long says that it was a simple eMail from an NPPA member who questioned the use of a digitally created photograph on the cover of the June 2013 issue of National Geographic that kicked off a Committee discussion that brought to light widely differing points of view.
This past week, the NPPA Ethics Committee had been deeply involved in discussing whether the June 2013 National Geographic cover photograph of explorer James Cameron was a violation of accepted journalistic ethics and values. However, what has taken precedence in our discussions is the firing of the entire photographic staff of the Chicago Sun-Times, including a Pulitzer Prize-winner, replacing them with reporters carrying iPhones.
The Pictures of the Year International director has issued a statement today addressing the Paolo Pellegrin photography and caption controversy, waiting until last night to issue their findings after POYi finished announcing all of their category winners for this year.
The White House News Photographers Association released a statement late Monday night saying that a Washington Post photograph that recently won an award in the WHNPA annual contest has now been disqualified for digital manipulation.