Revista Comunicación

Medios y fines en el periodismo político

Publicado el 30 julio 2010 por Noblejas

Acabo de leer a mi viejo y gran amigo Gonzalo Peltzer presentando la portada del último número de Time en el imprescindible Paper Papers. No dice nada específico, a no ser en el título de la anotación, "Para qué sirve el periodismo", y en el enlace que remite a la explicación de Richard Stengel, Managing Editor, "The Plight of Afghan Women: A Disturbing Picture", que aparece en el mismo Time.

Siguiendo el enlace que lleva a una ampliación de la portada, aparece esto, que incluye un "pie de portada" que me parece un tanto editorializante:

Cover_time
Resulta que la foto hecha y elegida para la portada desde luego que resulta "disturbing" para la sensibilidad. Es una foto "de pose", muy trabajada y seleccionada, que presenta con belleza y cuidado algo horrible. Pero no se puede olvidar que eso es precisamente algo buscado con la edición de esta portada, algo que permite decir de modo más o menos conclusivo que "la realidad afgana que muestra es algo a lo que no podemos volver la espalda".

Y así tiene sentido el titular diciendo que eso es lo que pasa "si nos vamos de Afganistán".

Hasta aquí, entiendo que cabe valorar -como señala Gonzalo Peltzer- la utilidad del periodismo para exponer una realidad que enseguida se convierte en defensa de una causa, e implícitamente en justificación de la acción bélica estadounidense en Afganistán.

Pero resulta que el asunto de esta portada concreta ha enfadado bastante, también hoy mismo, al fotógrafo y autor del blog "duckrabbit – we produce photofilms", que titula su anotación: Photography and dirty propaganda? y dice, citando en primer lugar lo dicho por la entradilla de Time:

‘Our cover image this week is powerful, shocking and disturbing. It is a portrait of Aisha, a shy 18-year-old Afghan woman who was sentenced by a Taliban commander to have her nose and ears cut off for fleeing her abusive in-laws. Aisha posed for the picture and says she wants the world to see the effect a Taliban resurgence would have on the women of Afghanistan, many of whom have flourished in the past few years. Her picture is accompanied by a powerful story by our own Aryn Baker on how Afghan women have embraced the freedoms that have come from the defeat of the Taliban — and how they fear a Taliban revival.’

The problem is that this editorial reads as if Aisha’s ears and nose were cut off before the American/UK invasion and therefore is a justification for the war. Infact the barbaric act took place last year. Despite this the cover states that the girl’s face is representative of ‘What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan’. But this is what is happening in Afghanistan now, after all the billions we’ve spent bombing the place. Some might say it’s dirty propaganda.

Much of my work in Ethiopia was related to women’s rights and the record in that country is as bad, if not worse than Afghanistan. Strangely the US and the UK take a different approach to Ethiopia. Instead of bombing the country every year they donate a couple of hundred million dollars in aid. It’s not always money well spent, but it sure beats bombing people as a way of changing barbaric cultural practices.

It’s an idea that TIME’S Editor thinks will help persuade us to keep supporting the war. It certainly will make a great t-shirt ‘Bomb Afghanistan for women’s rights’, but I can’t see many behavioral change experts recommending it as a way to stop women being raped, mutilated or forced into early marriage.

Infact if you took all the billions we’ve spent on bombing Afghanistan and offered the money as payments to not abuse women’s rights (the aid way) then I’m pretty sure you would see change happening a lot swifter. The only problem is all those in the US and UK who profit from war would be a hell of a lot poorer and their right to make money is the most important right of all.

I feel sorry for Bieber, she’s done a great job and cannot be faulted, but I feel this photo has been abused. Just as guns did not solve the problems of racism in South Africa they will not solve the problems of women’s rights in Afghanistan. Shame on TIME for suggesting otherwise.

Entiendo que la justa denuncia periodística de un trágico estado de cosas no se convierte sin otras razones en justificación moral de una guerra, como parece hacer -sin más- esta portada propagandística de Time.


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