Photojournalism Ethics

13 Nov

Orthodox Jewish newspaper apologized for deleting the image of Hillary Clinton and Audrey Tomason from a photograph of Barrack Obama and his staff monitoring that raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Di Tzeitung stated that it does not publish women’s images in print and the photo editor do not read the “fine print” by the White House photograph of forbidding any changes. The newspaper apologizes to the White house and US department for their mistake.

According to Stovall J. (2011), many photographers in photojournalism have been accused for controlling people or the photograph itself to improve the impact. Photojournalists have to follow certain code of ethics. Few of the code ethics said that photojournalist should not or do not intentionally contribute to alter or influence events when taking pictures. Photojournalist should not manipulate or change the images in any way that could give the viewer a wrong interpretation of the subject. (National Press Photographers Association, 2011) With that stated code of ethics, I think that photojournalist should not alter or manipulate the images but instead maintaining the picture on how it is originally is. Photojournalist always alters the image to cover the truth from the reader. However, it will one day come to a point where reader will not trust what they read on newspaper anymore.

Alteration of photo is acceptable as long as the meaning remain the same. However, if the meaning is changed, it is unethical to alter the picture. (Joann Pearlstein V. 2010) One of the similar examples is the picture of O.J. Simpson on the Time Magazine.

(, 2006)

If compared to Newsweek, the photograph been altered by darkened the picture so that Simpson will give a more criminal and evil appearance. So, altering the photographs is not ethical for publishing because it change the whole interpretation fully of photographs. In my opinion, photojournalist alters photos not because they want to change people’s perception but due to religious context. O.J. Simpson is taken as an example. People always stereotype black people as someone that is bad and evil and that is why Time’s magazine alter the photo of O.J. Simpson by darkening the image to give people a more criminal and evil impression.



1. Stovall J. (2011), Photojournalism Ethics viewed on 9 November 2011

2. National Press Photographers Association (2011), NPPA Code of Ethics viewed on 9 November 2011

3. Joann Perlstein V. (2010), Ethical Issues and Photojournalism viewed on 9 November 2011–ethical-issues-and-photojournalism.html


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