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World Press Photo’s Lars Boering and the fight against “fake news”

A full report on this year’s contest will be released on 27 February – but in the meantime, a new spectre has raised its head. Documentary but recording a murder which took place at a press conference, this year’s winning image by Burhan Ozbilici has been denounced by the jury chair Stuart Franklin, who argues it is a terrorist manipulation of the media, and therefore should not be given the oxygen of more publicity.

“It is a staged murder for the press in a press conference, so there will be questions,” Franklin told BJP. “It is a premeditated, staged murder at a press conference, which arguably you could put in the same envelope as the beheading of a prisoner in Raqqa [Syria].”

An Assassination

Mevlut Mert Altintas shouts after shooting Andrei Karlov, right, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. Image ©

Boering has no such compunction. “Every act of terrorism is a manipulation of society and media,” he says. “They know the media is drawn to these things, that everyone will want to publish it first. But to me that is not fake news. Fake news for me is when we see governments trying to trash facts, figures and anything they don’t like. It is not new – if you go back to the 1930s, propaganda and news were very much intertwined.

“We [World Press Photo] feel we have never given in to the pressure to ‘everything goes’ in photography,” he continues. “Photography is a big place, you can do anything, but when you are a journalist you are working in a specific area of photography, working in the world we live in.”


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