The World’s Most Powerful Editor

By posted at 9:00 am on September 9, 2016 1

“I think you are abusing your power, and I find it hard to believe that you have thought it through thoroughly.” Norway’s largest newspaper, Aftenposten, has published a front-page letter to Mark Zuckerberg after Facebook censored an iconic image from the Vietnam war. The Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of a naked nine-year-old Kim Phúc running away from a napalm attack was deleted from a post about seven images “that changed the history of warfare.”

Tatjana Soli, author of The Lotus Eaters, wrote for us about the legacy of that infamous photo a few years back.


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One Response to “The World’s Most Powerful Editor”

  1. E
    at 3:36 pm on September 9, 2016

    As a woman, I can appreciate this photo, the historic context, and its legacy. I’ll never forget, though, the moment I saw it, how I felt at nine years old when I sat at the kitchen table and saw a naked girl on the cover of the newspaper. For a different reason, for a reason that perhaps seems insignificant in light of what this girl was experiencing, I understood that the world wasn’t safe for little girls. Even as a teen, when I’d come across the picture, I’d wonder why a soldier didn’t do something to protect her from the photographer. Today, I still wonder why it never occurred to newspapers to think about nine-year-old girls, how we would feel to see an unprotected child exposed before all. And in a medium that said it was okay to expose her—us—in her most vulnerable hour.

    Yes, the photo brought the reality of war home to Americans. It also brought a certain hopeless helplessness home to me, and I imagine to other nine-year-old girls.

    I’m not in favor of censorship, I’m not deaf to suffering in this world. I believe in personal citizenship and combating human oppression on every front, on every continent. I know nothing about Facebook’s position on the subject of this photo, particularly as children aren’t expected to surf Facebook. I know only that, for me, this photo remains iconic of one issue—the neglected welfare of the female child.

    After decades of retrospection and attaining a modicum of social enlightenment, I can’t fathom why the impact of this picture isn’t seen from broader perspectives.

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