The Associated Press today made clear why it’s not trafficking in all available images of the schoolgirls who have been abducted by the Boko Haram group in Nigeria. A blog post by AP Standards Editor Tom Kent notes that other news organizations have shown “close-ups” of the faces of some of the girls as seen in a much-discussed video that surfaced this week. The AP, however, won’t show footage or images that make the girls identifiable..
“The images we selected convey the idea of the girls being held, without showing them in such detail that would identify specific children in this abusive situation,” notes Kent, citing the above image as an example that meets these criteria. Nor does the wire service quote extensively from hostage statements, which are commonly coerced. “[W]e know that statements made under duress cannot be taken at face value,” writes Kent.
There are indeed some contrasting approaches to the video: Here, the Guardian blurs the footage so that faces aren’t identifiable. “The Guardian has concealed the girls’ faces to protect identities,” notes the video caption.