Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

A major victory was scored this week helping freedom of the press become a bit more free.

This week President Obama ended the ban on news organizations photographing the flag-covered coffins of American soldiers killed in Iraq as they return to the United States through Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. NPR has a great segment this week with families discussing the freedom of press issue and the grieving process

The last eight years ate away the true picture of war with the Pentagon keeping any photos of flag-draped coffins out of the media. Afraid the pictures would become a testament to the toll of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as of the sacrifice borne by those who serve in the military and their families. The ceremony known as the "dignified transfer of remains" performed nearly 5,000 times since the start of the Iraq is hidden from public view by the Pentagon. Air Force cargo jets land and taxi down the runway at Dover Air Force Base, Del., carrying the remains of fallen U.S. troops. After a chaplain says a simple prayer, an eight-member military honor guard removes the metal "transfer cases" from the planes and carries them to a mortuary van.

President George H.W. Bush's administration imposed the ban on media coverage of the arrival of fallen troops' remains at Dover Air Force Base during the Gulf War in February 1991.

This change will bring about the transparency missing from the reporting process. Nice to see the media given it's teeth back. As a photographer I hail this important policy change to bring a full story to the public.

A picture is worth a thousand words

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