Home > Uncategorized > Wrong: Haitians in rubbles from BBC gallery

Wrong: Haitians in rubbles from BBC gallery

One picture is worth 1,000 words. The cliché says. However, BBC’s selection of pictures about Haiti earthquake seem quite inappropriate.     

BBC news site picture of Haiti earthquake

 

This picture has strong visual impact, isn’t it?  

Click on it or go to BBC website to see it in enlarged size. Look at it very carefully. Now tell me how you feel.  

Don’t you think that BBC is actually ‘playing’ with people’s miserable life, even if just slightly?  

The women with a dust face got her body below chest stuck in ruins, together with another two who were almost unidentifiable, one of whom had his/her head and body in red blood.  

Is it appropriate that BBC published this photo?  

Pictures in other media

BBC didn’t take this photo. It was from AFP.  

In fact, none of the 17 photos in its gallery was credited to BBC. Most of them were from AFP, several from AP and Getty Image, and one from the Red Cross.  

This explains why you can see the same images in other media such as The Times or The Telegraph.  

The Times Haiti story

 

The Telegraph Haiti Story

 

However, neither Times nor Telegraph selected that photo that BBC used. If you go through all the photos, you’ll see they are more reserved than BBC in using photos that feature seriously injured people.  

Who makes the decision?

The answer to this question is simple. It’s the editor on duty who decides which photos get published.  

However, the question might actually not so simple as it looks. Behind the simple ‘go’ or ‘down’ decision is the style, or principle of each media institution.  

BBC saw that picture, so did the Times and the Telegraph, most probably. But they made different choices.  

BBC knew well that some of its photos including the one we talked just now might offend some people, so they put up a warning on the first page saying “This gallery contains pictures some readers might find disturbing”.  

But does that justify its ‘playing with people’s miserable life’?  

I’m not a person who gets easily disturbed, but this picture really makes me feel bad about those Haitians hit by the earthquake, especially how their catastrophic lives were depicted by BBC

  1. January 15, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    i saw the same photo on the front page of cnn.com yesterday and it is also on the cover of yesterday’s guardian. it’s absolutely disgusting that they would even consider putting that in a paper, let alone a front page.

    i understand that as a journalist/photographer/videographer/ you have a job to do, but if you can stand there in front of people that are moments from death and snap a photo instead of trying to help, then you have no conscience and probably no soul. i’m sure whoever snapped that photo for afp has generated a lot of revenue and will go on to win many photojournalist awards, but is it really worth the price of integrity?

  2. January 15, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    The same controversy was aroused during the earthquake that killed over 100,000 people in Sichuan of China.

    It’s really a tricky question. Do you job and record history, or leave your job and help the rescue work. I really don’t know.

    Remember the photographer who took that picture of a vulture staring at a skinny young boy who was dying? That picture is invaluable in terms of raising world awareness of poverty in Africa, but the criticism on the photographer was also too much to handle. The truth is even he drove away the vulture, he wouldn’t be able to help that boy survive, let alone hundreds of thousands out of the camera frame.

    In the case of the earthquake, does it make sense that I’ll just a few pictures and then go help dig out those trapped? Who difines that ‘a few’, even just one? What if they were not in immediate danger, e.g., houses were not about to collapse any time soon?

    The more I think, the more I’m confused about what I should do. But I guess I’ll stop taking photos.

  3. March 10, 2010 at 8:04 am

    but its the same for that show where theyre cutting down trees and this tree falls on the guy and hes dying and would live if he was saved.The camera man walked ova and did close up of him dieing and the guy dying is begging him to save him and he dys which is sad

  4. March 10, 2010 at 8:05 am

    NEWZEALAND I LIVE IN NZ WHICH IS ORSOMe (awesome)

  5. amy
    June 22, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    i hope everyone suavity in it :l

  6. amy
    June 22, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    cool your amazing

  7. amy
    June 22, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    i saw the same photo on the front page of cnn.com yesterday and it is also on the cover of yesterday’s guardian. it’s absolutely disgusting that they would even consider putting that in a paper, let alone a front page.
    i understand that as a journalist/photographer/videographer/ you have a job to do, but if you can stand there in front of people that are moments from death and snap a photo instead of trying to help, then you have no conscience and probably no soul. i’m sure whoever snapped that photo for afp has generated a lot of revenue and will go on to win many photojournalist awards, but is it really worth the price of integrity?

  8. May 11, 2013 at 9:42 pm

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  12. July 17, 2013 at 9:50 am

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  13. July 27, 2013 at 1:23 pm

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