Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Censoring the terrors of war
On the 8th September 2016, Aftenposten, Norway’s largest newspaper, published a front page rebuttal of Facebook’s request to remove an image from its own Facebook page that was written by its editor-in-chief and CEO, Espen Egil Hansen. The rebuttal was written in response to the censorship of Nick Ut’s Pulitzer Prize winning photograph ‘The Terror of War,’ which depicted children fleeing a napalm strike in Vietnam and was posted on Facebook as part of Norwegian author Tom Egeland’s entry about seven images that changed the history of warfare.
Hansen was right to draw attention to the fact that “The napalm-girl is by far the most iconic documentary photography from the Vietnam war. The media played a decisive role in reporting different stories about the war than the men in charge wanted them to publish. They brought about a change of attitude which played a role in ending the war. They contributed to a more open, more critical debate. This is how a democracy must function.”