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Justice and rape in Liberia

October 30, 2009

Glenna Gordon and I have a couple posts up on the Pulitzer Center blog focused on justice and rape in Liberia. The first gives some background on the difficulties of prosecution here and the second gives two different takes (hers and mine) on how to handle the confidentiality of victims.

On confidentiality in genera, here’s a post script. There’s a glossy pamphlet the UN mission here, called UNMIL, puts out. Goes over all the issues, has pretty glossy pictures. The confidentiality thing at hand in these pages is about ex-combatants. There can be stigma, so the publication seems to err on the side of caution.

There’s a sidebar that profiles a 15 year old who was a slave laborer for some soldiers, with the photo of a young-looking man sewing. The text is all about the skills training he’s gotten and rebuilding his new life. They don’t use his name. In fact, in the first sentence where they “name” him, there’s an asterik, and this footnote: “Name has been changed to protect identity. The person in the picture is not related to the story.”

This isn’t journalism, of course, so it’s a different ball game. But… if the person in the picture has nothing to do with the story…why’s the picture there?

Point is, it’s all about the context.

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