Scandal develops around 'staged' Ukrainian war photos

from the Moscow Times

COMMENT FROM OFFGUARDIAN: We don’t make a habit of using the Moscow Times as a source, but we have decided to feature this curious piece as a part of our ongoing examination of the growing issue of media fakery. A Ukrainian journalist is being accused by his peers – not by Russians or by crazy conspiracy theorists – of faking images for war propaganda.
Do we assume this is an isolated or unusual example, or an aspect of a developing tendency to blur the lines between fact and fiction, between actual reportage and dramatic reconstruction of events that can’t even be confirmed to have occurred?

A Ukrainian photographer accused of staging an iconic image to engage with Russia in an “information war” has threatened legal action against his critics.
Dmitro Muravsky, who works for the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, said that he would sue those who continued to “damage his reputation” by saying the photo was fake.
Muravsky’s photo shows two soldiers carrying an injured comrade while a dramatic explosion tears through the village behind them. The image was first published by army-aligned Ukrainian news website Tsensor.net, which claimed the photo had been taken in front-line Shyrokino. It declared the story the photo told “should be spread around the world.”
In an open letter on the lb.ua website, 20 Ukrainian photo journalists, some of which have worked with international news agencies such as AFP, AP and Reuters, accused Kiev of staging the shot as part of an “information war” with Russia.

We would like to apologize on their behalf for such a mess and the clumsy attempts of [the Defense Ministry] to participate in the information war, the letter reads.
We kindly ask not to put these photos on a par with Russian fakes. The war is really going on, people are dying, and to prove it there is huge number of documentary photo and video evidence, [sic] both from international media and from our journalists.

Muravsky defended his work in a post on his social media page, saying that he wanted to “wash away the dirt, undeservedly poured on me by my so-called peers.”

I am not a professional photojournalist,” he wrote on Facebook. “What matters in a photo is emotion, not where, when and by whom it is made.

A number of photos taken by his team were “for future publications as posters or billboards,” Muravsky admitted. “As I realized later, that their presence gave rise to the conclusion that all of my photos are staged,” he wrote: “My only response to new charges will be only in the form of legal action for causing damage to business reputation.”


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bryce elmore
bryce elmore
Aug 30, 2016 11:36 PM

To make an issue of something so trite as this is frankly absurd. What next, a scandal about the exact weather conditions when the rogue UA government shelled its own citizens in their homes, schools, hospitals & shops?
Lest we forget the true significance of what is taking place in DonBas, more than a million average citizens were forced to flee to Russia, in order to escape a planned genocide by their own illegal government.
For genocide is what it is, in 21st Century Europe, aided and abetted by certain US and EU war-mongers.

Paul Carline
Paul Carline
Sep 17, 2016 8:10 PM
Reply to  bryce elmore

Only just seen this but can’t agree more. It disgusts me that European leaders accept in their meetings the presence of someone like Poroschenko who should be in The Hague facing war crimes charges – along with a large number of other Kiev politicians and military leaders.
While the West professes to support “freedom and democracy”, in Ukraine it is supporting an illegal regime and neo-fascist militaries which have branded the peaceful people of Donbas “terrorists”.
Meanwhile the allegedly neutral OSCE appears incapable of distinguishing between offence and defence. The so-called “terrorists” of Donbas are not trying to expand their territory, merely defending it against the UAF which has been sent to obliterate them.

Captain Kemlo
Captain Kemlo
Aug 30, 2016 5:13 AM

Interesting. Thanks.

Aug 29, 2016 8:54 PM

RT Russia has an article about it.
The Ukrainian soldiers were ordered by higher command to say the photograph was true, but later, one of them said:
“I officially declare that the photos of Murawski with the explosion in SHIROKANE — staged. The place is real, is advanced. Guys with a fait accompli, what to do, injuries and sprained limbs were not. No shelling was not, was a remote det explosive device, covered with a bag or cement, or mortar, or chalk. <…> The stroller on the street was not, put it there,” quotes his words RIA Novosti.

Aug 29, 2016 6:26 PM

Reblogged this on TheFlippinTruth.

Aug 29, 2016 5:22 PM

Muravsky defending his work gives it all away:
“What matters in a photo is emotion, not where, when and by whom it is made.”
This is what is called “faking the context”. What matters with an image is – context, without it, it has no value – until framed [put in context]. Without the correct context, or if subsequently manipulated context, the context of the original image is corrupted and therefore meaningless.
We see this clearly in Catte’s piece citing the BBC Panorama’s propaganda piece on “Saving Syria’s Children” – an excellent example.
In this case of context and fakery one thing that hits you is the strategically place child’s pram.

Marc Krizack
Marc Krizack
Aug 29, 2016 7:36 PM
Reply to  tutisicecream

Well, I agree that if a photo is fake for these purposes putting the child’s pram there is brilliant, but the fact that the pram is there is not proof that the photo is faked. I certainly believe it is fake based on the criticism of the Ukrainian journalists, but it would be nice to see how they know it is faked.

Jerome Fryer
Jerome Fryer
Aug 30, 2016 7:03 AM
Reply to  Marc Krizack

The explosion looks wrong if it is supposed to be a mortar or artillery shell. Photojournalists who have seen such would recognise that it is not the real deal.

MHB Administrator
MHB Administrator
Aug 29, 2016 3:48 PM

Reblogged this on Scoop Feed.