Marija Vujović, Ivana Stojanovic Prelevic

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Newspaper photographs, visual text that speaks more powerfully than written text, have been unfairly neglected in theory and practice by media scholars and professionals. The author’s starting point is the assumption that the image itself is a powerful medium in which people openly and naively believe under the slogan ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. Its role in Serbian printed media is regulated by the decrees of the Journalism Code of Ethics in Serbia. Although the instructions are clear, they have been routinely violated in practice. The modern, digital age has brought the opportunity for photographs to be easily downloaded from the internet, while the programs for image manipulation have become more powerful, more accessible and easier to use. These opportunities represent a threat to the status that news, documentary photography has. The ethics of news photography is particularly important because the visual elements represent something the audience notices first and are therefore crucial for whether and how the written word is going to be adopted. Therefore, the participant of the study is the ethics of photography in print media in Serbia. In the analysis of three daily newspapers (Politika, Blic, Kurir), from May 12 to 14, 2014, without add-ons and program guides, the semiotic method was used, as well as the method of quantitative and qualitative analysis of all the published photographs, except advertising. The authors evaluated the ethics of photography in comparison to the Journalism Code of Ethics in Serbia. The aim was to determine to what extent there is a violation of any of the decrees relating photography. The hypotheses on which the study is based on: ethical violations can be found in all the papers, mostly in the tabloids, the least in the serious press. The most common violations are failing to emphasize the nature or the author of the illustrative photograph. There are more serious violations such as disrespect for the presumption of innocence and the right to privacy. Nonetheless, there are more ethical violations on the front page than within the newspaper.

Key words:   Newspaper photograph/photography, print media, manipulation, ethics, The Journalist's Code of Serbia.

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