Sunday, September 11, 2005

FEMA drops photography restrictions

I just heard on CNN Headline News that FEMA has dropped its order that news photographers not take pictures of dead bodies during the recovery operation after Hurricane Katrina.
Most journalism organizations will handle these photos with tact, simply because they cannot afford to alienate their viewer base, but it is important that photojournalists be able to get to the truth of the situation and, unfortunately, many times there is no way to put a sugarcoating on the truth.
As I wrote yesterday, though there might be a bit of concern about the sensibilities of survivors and other loved ones about seeing the bodies, the main concern in this case appears to be political; the Bush Administration does not want to be the target of American rage as bodies turn up in the wake of Katrina.
The First Amendment is the cornerstone of our American system. We should always be vigilant against those who would restrict it in any fashion whatsoever. CNN did the right thing in challenging this misguided policy.

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