Digital Image Alteration and Photojournalist Ethics in China and USA

3192 Words 13 Pages
Digital Image Alteration and Photojournalist Ethics in China and USA


Photography is a process where lights are recorded through chemical means(by film) or by an electronic device such as digital sensor. The resulting photograph represents a optically realistic portrait of a specific event at a specific location and time. This connection to reality allows people place a significant amount of trust on photographs and coined the phrase "the camera does not lie." Thus, photographs are used heavily in news reporting as a proof that a certain event has occurred. Recently, news agencies have begin to digitize their photographic process. Using digital photography allows journalists to send their pictures to the editor with
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Each editor must draw upon the code of ethics he and the news agency subscribe to as well as the implicit trust people place on viewing a picture.

This paper will discuss how different cultural values affect the journalist ethics on photographic integrity in two different countries-- China and USA.. It also applies the ethical framework to arrive at the conclusion that the ethical model of US news agency, in particular the integrity policy published by national photojournalist association is far more desirable.

Digital Image Alteration and Its Influence on the Viewers

When I saw it, I probably just said, no one is going to know. I don't know. I've tweaked pictures before--taken out a phone pole. It's not a common practice, but you can do it. I can't speak for anyone else, but I imagine they've done it here and there. This was going overboard--taking pictures and putting them together. I think it's just that I wanted a better image. Then when I did it, I didn't even think about it.-- Interview with Brian Walski by Photo District News on how he justified the picture modification1.

To some ethical theorists, the above quote is the exact evidence that we have already moved into a post-photographic era. Ethics theorist, William J. Mitchell2, argues that the modern day invention such as digital camera and photo editing software have made editing digital images far too simple, and the

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