Starved for Attention – malnutrition in context?

Posted 14 Jun 2010 — by davidc_7IF
Category Alternative visuals, Context and Analysis

Starved for Attention, the collaboration between MSF and VII to draw attention to the problem of endemic malnutrition, attempts to put the issue in context.

In an interesting interview, Marcus Bleasdale (at 02:52) remarks:

As a photojournalist I’ve been as guilty as anybody else in fuelling this stereotypical image of the starving child in Africa, and one of the great things about this project was that it allowed us to concentrate on the larger picture, it allowed us to concentrate on, not just malnutrition itself, but the reasons behind it and the people that are dealing with it…

Whether the project succeeds in its aims remains to be seen, largely because only two of the planned stories are currently available, though all should be online by mid-July.

We await the others with interest, and hope to do a review of the project when it is complete.

Gay rights in Malawi

Posted 21 May 2010 — by davidc_7IF
Category Alternative visuals

The Guardian’s coverage of the trial of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga is a good example of how a ‘negative’ story is both essential and in some senses ‘positive’.

Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza have told gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell…of their defiance. Photo: Claire Ngozo/IPS, published in The Guardian, 15 May 2010, p. 35.

As named individuals defiant in both attitude and pose, we see a struggle for human rights in a country policing laws with colonial origins. The denial of gay rights in 37 Africa countries can only be a negative, but reporting it in terms of the political struggle for rights is to approach it in the same way similar stories from Europe or the US would be covered, and that can be considered a positive step. Moreover, the coincidence of the Malawian story with the controversy in the US surrounding the sexuality of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan demonstrates how retrograde views on sexuality are common.

UPDATE 30 MAY 2010:

After international pressure, the Malawian President pardoned Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, who had been sentenced to 14 years in separate prisons. Whether this pardon provides them with real freedom is questioned by this blog.