The photo of the Turkish police officer who shot and killed the Russian ambassador in Ankara has been voted World Press Photo of the year. Burhan Özbilici, the Turkish photographer who took the photo will receive the prestigious prize from news agency AP. Some media decry the choice on the grounds that the picture glorifies terrorism. For others, the image of the assassin is the opposite of propaganda.
Dangerous glorification of assassin
Pohjalainen is appalled at the jury's choice:
“In this photo the assassin has the gun in his hand and is pointing his finger at the sky. Beside him lies the ambassador's lifeless body. The photo that won the World Press Photo competition is abhorrent, and one can only shake one's head at the choice. Of course the picture is a document of our times in which terrorism and attacks by radical groups have become commonplace. The image has been viewed millions of times online. What we see is a fanatic terrorist and a helpless victim, but other people see a hero.”
Killer's self-glorification exposed
The photo is not propaganda for terrorists but rather exposes the glorification of violence, La Repubblica's comments:
“Many people saw something different in the assassin's pose: glamour, the echo of film stars (from John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever to Men in Black and Pulp Fiction) that is unacceptable in the context of a tragedy. … The scene is indeed so surreally clean that if we didn't know that the body on the floor was the murdered victim we would think it was an artistic performance. … But isn't that precisely what the attack was? An exhibition of violence? The policeman chose for his crime a setting that was ideal for such a display and promised maximum impact in the media, the opening of an exhibition - a photo exhibition - in Ankara. Özbilici's photo doesn't invent the glamorization of terrorist violence, but at most denounces and exposes it as such.”