The Listening Post

Omran Daqneesh and the limits of war photography

Why do some war images, like the one of Syrian boy Omran Daqneesh, resonate more than others? Plus, Ecuador’s media law.

On The Listening Post this week: Why do some war images resonate more than others? We look at the picture of the Syrian boy that went viral. Plus, revisiting Ecuador’s media law.

Images of the powerless

There is no shortage of disturbing images from the war in Syria. But relatively few of them reach you – because editors often deem them too graphic to publish or broadcast. Last week, images of five-year-old Omran Daqneesh travelled around the world and sparked outrage. But to what end? And for how long?

This week, we analyse the power and the limits of war imagery. 

Talking us through the story are: Mahmoud Raslan, media activist/photographer; Susie Linfield, author of The Cruel Radiance, Photography and Political Violence; Oksana Boyko, RT; Patrick Baz, Middle East and North Africa photo editor, Agence France-Presse; and Craig Allen, journalist, The New York Times.

On our radar:

  • One Mexican journalist was wounded in a shooting and another forced to flee the state of Veracruz – what has become one of the most lethal places on earth for journalism?
  • Members of Pakistan’s MQM party have stormed the office of the ARY News channel in protest of what they say is the outlet’s failure to cover the party’s activities.
  • The whistleblowing site WikiLeaks has come under criticism for failing to redact sensitive information in recent leaks that has revealed personal data belonging to hundreds of ordinary citizens.

Ecuador’s media law: Populism and politics 

Three years after the Ecuadorian government passed a controversial media law aimed at dismantling the power of private media conglomerates, we travel to Quito to see what impact the legislation has had on levelling the media’s uneven playing field.