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Numbers count when choosing pictures of conflict

The question of proportionality in the use of pictures of the Middle Eastern conflict is addressed by Ian Mayes, the Guardian’s readers’ editor today. He quotes from a reply the paper’s deputy editor made to an accusation of disproportion in the use of pictures which was part of a complaint from the Israeli embassy in London. The deputy editor said:

In the past four editions … we have used 11 photographs … two could be categorised as showing Israeli victims and five [were] of Lebanese victims. The remainder could be said to be neutral … That is against a backcloth of 35 civilian deaths in Israel and 1,005 in Lebanon.

Mayes, who is president of the Organisation of News Ombudsmen, concludes: “Numbers, in such a context, do count.”

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