New York Times faces Twitter backlash over “biased” coverage of Nairobi attack
London, Jan. 16, 2019 (AltAfrica)-As Kenya reels from the deadly attack on an upmarket hotel in capital Nairobi that killed 14 people, a controversy over a New York Times (NYT) article has added to the anger.
The Newspaper’s use of graphic images of victims sparks online fury and allegations of disrespectful and biased reporting
Many Kenyans took to Twitter since Wednesday evening to express their feelings on the assault on Dusit Hotel complex, claimed by the armed group, al-Shabab.
Using the hashtag #WeShallOvercome, Kenyans tweeted messages of solidarity. However, another, angrier hashtag soon emerged in response to the NYT coverage of the tragedy.
An NYT article by its East Africa bureau chief, Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, showed the aftermath of the attack, including images of injured people and dead bodies.
The article drew ire of some Kenyans who used a slightly harsh hashtag – #DeportKimiko – to protest the images of graphic violence against black Africans, calling them disrespectful and biased.
They argued that such images would never be used in the coverage of tragedies in the United States, where the NYT is based.
This is how new york times covers terror attacks from various parts of the world , notice no images of dead victims #deportkimikopic.twitter.com/U6bLHT8XLv— TONNY 254 ® 🇰🇪 (@Antoniotonny3) January 16, 2019
#deportkimiko @kimidefreytasyou claim that it the companies policy to share disturbing pictures. Please show us what happened to that policy when similar attack occurred in the US and Europe..or is it just an african policy??? The internet never forgets. pic.twitter.com/Gnv7be8GwX— Tahii (@MutahiBrian) January 16, 2019
Soon, another hashtag #SomeoneTellNYTimes began trending, with many tweets showing photos of people providing the victims aid after the assault.
What The New York Times won’t report. A patriot has brought breakfast for the rescuers #RiversideAttack #Dusit#KenyaAttack#Nairobi.#deportkimiko#WeShallOvercome
United than ever. Kenyans are also donating blood all over.
Terrorism will never triumph! pic.twitter.com/rMPBIyie1i— Donald L. Agwenge (@DonaldAgwenge) January 16, 2019
Others posted positive images of Nairobi to contrast with the violent images used by the newspaper.
In response, the NYT tweeted a statement expressing its respect for those affected by the attack but also defending its use of the images.
“It is important to give our readers a clear picture of the horror of an attack like this. This includes showing pictures that are not sensationalised but that give a real sense of the situation.”
We have heard from some readers upset with our publishing a photo showing victims after a brutal attack in Nairobi. We understand how painful this coverage can be, and we try to be very sensitive in how we handle both words and images in these situations. https://t.co/Qjm0qBMaF3pic.twitter.com/1sqgTnnVKW— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 15, 2019
#SomeoneTellNYtimes we do not need your sensationalized photos to “get the picture”. We have family, friends, fellow Kenyans who have lived the nightmare of terrorism. Some are gone forever. You are a disgrace. Disrespectful.— Kambua (@Kambua) January 16, 2019 9 (Al-Jazeera)