Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube…these are many forms of the social media websites we use today. The world and its people have evolved from where it was 50 years ago, and ways to interact with each other are now simplified.
Social media has benefited us in many ways. It delivers news, spreads knowledge, allows us to interact with people in different countries and gives us the freedom to be able to see and express anything we want.
Recently, controversy has sparked leading to criticisms of the media. Photojournalism is an example of such controversy, impacting the media both positively and negatively.
Journalism has the power to deliver knowledge and new information to anyone with access to mass media. People all around the world love to read interesting news and indulge in daily new gossip…but who has the time read paragraph after paragraph in articles (isn’t this ironic?).
But what happens when photojournalism steps into the picture? (Ha, that was funny.)
Images are being bombarded around all these social media platforms within seconds of the event occurring. Although this can be a positive thing, allowing us to receive the news within minutes of its occurrence can also be a negative thing.
Scandals and Manipulation
Ever heard of Photoshop? Or Pixlr? Maybe you have. It’s the photo-editing program your mother might use when she wants to crop out something from your Christmas card.
Over the past years, these programs and softwares have been made more available and easier to use. Thus, causing massive problems particularly with the credibility of sources.
Despite the benefits of photojournalism, there have been multiple issues involving incidents that have occurred. People have questioned whether photojournalists have used people’s lives as a method for selling news and gaining attention.
Meet Stanley Forman
Stanley Forman was one of the photojournalist’s who was criticized for witnessing an atrocity and snapping a photo, instead of doing the humane thing and attempting to help out in the situation. This photograph shows a two-year-old child and a nineteen-year-old woman, falling from a burning building. Nonetheless, he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975 and the World Press Photo of the Year. Forman’s photo was published in over a hundred newspapers.
“……it is an invasion of privacy, stripping away the dignity of one human’s death.” Said Tyler Coates about the photograph ( www.flavorwire.com.)
“Readers of the major news outlets that carried the photographs wrote numerous letters to the editors, complaining of the sensational nature of the images.” ( www.flavorwire.com.)
Faith Lost in Humanity?
There has always been that same question asked when ever photos of human suffering, massacre, or violence surface social media:
Have photojournalists disregarded the fact that lives were in danger, as they were snapping a photo of the atrocious event that happened before their eyes? Is media attention, awards and prestige more valuable than human life? What are the duties of these photojournalists? Is it their job to stop the conflict or would they have crossed a line in doing so?
Human Rights Commission (HRC 1)
Regulation of photojournalism of crime, abuse, and human suffering.
By: Hessa Al-Kubaisi
Image by: Stanley Forman