Images are uploaded to photo-sharing services like TwitPic and yFrog. Links are tweeted by the original photographer. Other people retweet those links or copy and paste them into Facebook or other blogs. In a matter of minutes, an individual photo can spider out in myriad directions.
So how does a news organisation verify images? Director of photography Santiago Lyon explains the Associated Press’ explains the agency’s process and establishes some useful guidelines for other news orgs – above all: “If we can’t verify the content, we don’t use it.”
The AP has also confirmed it received a letter from US defence secretary Robert Gates asking the agency not to publish it.
Now the agency has explained its decision – including the following from the AP’s director of photography, Santiago Lyon:
“AP journalists document world events every day. Afghanistan is no exception. We feel it is our journalistic duty to show the reality of the war there, however unpleasant and brutal that sometimes is.”