The Challenges of Covering Islamic State Propaganda

Posted on 2015-03-17 16:28

As you may have noticed in your exploration of the Konflictcam platform, we have elected to include photos and screen captures of Islamic State propaganda in our archive.  This decision was not made lightly, and was a difficult one that took much deliberation on the part of our team.  Ultimately, we determined that these photos needed to be included given the Islamic State’s rise to prominence and its centrality to the ongoing Syrian Civil War and Iraq Insurgency.

The process of making this determination really made our team consider what we want our platform to be about, what we aim to accomplish, and who we wish to serve. Ultimately, as an objective and open source photo platform that seeks to avoid endorsing any party’s particular agenda, we felt that these conflict images needed to be included.  Moreover, given the fact that we seek to have a comprehensive image database that truly tells the story of a conflict from multiple angles and from beginning to end, we felt that we would be in error if we were to proceed as if these events didn’t happen.  Juxtaposed with imagery from the other belligerents in the Islamic State’s areas of activity, these images should allow Konflictcam’s users to have a deeper, fuller understanding of the conflicts at hand.

The destruction wrought by the Islamic State is undeniable, and by no means do we wish to provide a propaganda vehicle for the organization’s atrocities.  To censor these images from our platform, however, would represent an attempt to brush these horrors under the rug, exactly the opposite of what our team is attempting to accomplish with our platform.  Our intention is always to use conflict photos to promote understanding while avoiding sensationalism.  If you have any questions or concerns about this course of action, please don’t hesitate to contact our management team.

Christian Bergland
Konflictcam Adviser