Media Issue 3: Photojournalism Ethics

In today’s world, whenever we go many of us will often take pictures especially when we are on holidays. However, recently photographers in Australia were made redundant this week.

I am sure that most of the people do not know that even photojournalism has its own ethical and principles as well. Lester (1999) stated that there is growing concern that new technological advances that allow easy and undetectable picture manipulation cause the public to be unconcerned about the truthful content of photographs as well.

In 2011, the clothing company United Colors of Benetton Launches the ‘Unhate’ Campaign. In support of the Unhate Foundation, United Colors of Benetton had come out with an advertisement that features the doctored photos of world leaders kissing each other and that the Italian-based company said aims to combat a “culture of hatred.” One of the pictures of the advertisement was featured a fake picture of Pope Benedict XVI kissing Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, imam of Al-Azhar mosque, a prominent Muslim house of worship in Cairo, Egypt. Other advertisement pictures also features fake photos of U.S. President Barack Obama kissing Chinese leader Hu Jintao and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kissing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, among other pairings (Gilgoff, 2011).



“In the field of advertising, the most elemental rules of respect for others can be broken in order to attract attention by provocation” said by Holy See in a statement about the advertisement. United Colors of Benetton said that “the central theme is the kiss, the most universal symbol of love, between world political and religious leaders.” He wanted to promote peace and harmony between people of different cultures but he ended up getting himself in a lawsuit. From his point of view, he just wants to raise up the issue of the hating around the world but he has forgotten to put into consideration that by using their pictures without any permissions was an act of disrespect.

In conclusion, although there are many photos editing programme in the market, the photojournalism or the professional photographer have to use it wisely. In other words, the use of the photo editing programme that we have now in the market is pretty terrified. The photojournalism should have more responsibility so that it gives us the right to call photography a profession rather than a business (Lester, 1999).

Reference List:

Lester, PM 1999, “Chapter six picture manipulations”, in Photojournalism An Ethical Approach, viewed 11th June 2013, <>

Gilgoff D, 2011, “Vatican pledges legal action against Benetton over doctored pope-kissing-imam ad”, viewed 11th June 2013, <>

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