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Schulz, Malin

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Die Zeit - Germany | 29/08/2013

The terrible power of war photos

After the presumed poison gas attack in Syria, images of murdered children and youths were seen all over the world. The left-liberal weekly Die Zeit points out that war photos have always been instrumentalised: "The pictures from Syria show murdered children all lined up in a row. Some are still infants, others almost teenagers. No fathers or mothers are to be seen. Were the corpses arranged for the photo? ... Often we have no idea who takes such photos, or under what conditions they're shot. What remains is a large sense of unease and the question: do we need to see photos of dead children before we take political action? The images from war-torn regions never serve only to clarify what's going on, they also serve the interests of the warring parties. ... So how should we deal with them as news editors? Are we aiding the war propaganda of one of the parties by publishing them? Or are we giving a face to injustice? ... What's worse than a picture of a dead child? A picture of a dead child which has lost all meaning."

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