Behind Bars: Photo Bias Breaks Out of Gaza

Are Gazan children really behind bars or does the imagery fail to give the bigger picture?

Images can be a powerful weapon to be deployed in the battle for public opinion and Israel is constantly a victim of photo bias. A single photo can say more than thousands of words printed in a story. Perhaps that’s why The Independent chose to include the photo below in an article addressing Israel’s offer to relax its blockade of Gaza.

After all, what could be more symbolic of suffering and mistreatment than the image of small children behind bars?

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This was part of a series of photos taken from the same location on the same day by Mohammed Abed for Getty / AFP, which we were able to track down. A look at some of these paints a very different portrait of the scene.

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These images raise a number of questions:
  • To what extent do photographers “stage” their photos in order to capture images that fit a particular newsframe or agenda?
  • What influences newspaper editors in their choice of photographs to accompany a story? Is it based primarily on the artistic quality of the image or is there something more sinister at work?

Gaza: The Photos You May Not Have Seen

Of course, some photos don’t fit the accepted context and may not make it into the mainstream media. If a media outlet is trying to portray starving Gazans suffering under an Israeli blockade, the following photos might present an inconvenient truth:

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[Captions available here and here.]

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This report is the latest in a series on photo bias in the mainstream media. See our previous installment here. and watch out for more photo bias features in the near future.
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