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Covering Horror: Family Photographs in Israeli Reportage on Terrorism

By Gil Pasternak

Abstract

This article focuses on the presentation of family photographs in reports on terror attacks in the leading Israeli dailies since the first intifada of 1987. How should the Israeli media cover terror attacks carried out against the Israeli population and within the environment of its daily life? What kind of images should it circulate? How explicit should these be? Such questions have concerned a variety of professional members of the Israeli society since the mid 1990s. Having realised that a too explicit coverage of attacks might damage the morale of the Israelis, Israeli dailies virtually agreed in 1997 to refrain from publishing explicit photographs of corpses, expressions of panic, hysteria, grief and anxiety. Instead, the Israeli media turned to what eventually became the only valid, indisputable means to represent the dead victims: their family photographs. These pictures, however, refer to a different space, time, and occasion; they draw attention to more pleasurable moments and biographical highlights, whereas the nature of the reported event and the report itself inevitably focuses on violence and death. The aim of this article is to trace the sociological implications involved in the participation of such images in the narrative of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian political conflict

Topics: DE, GN, GT, HM, HN, HQ, JF, N1, TR
Publisher: University College London, Routledge
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:8517

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