Burqa caption ‘uncalled for;’ PDI: ‘We say so sorry’
We would like to call your attention to the caption of a photograph showing President (Benigno) Aquino (III) shaking hands with a veiled Muslim woman published on May 9, 2012.
The heading SECURITY RISK! [A question mark -Ed] we believe is uncalled for, insensitive and even libelous.
Although the burqa is frowned upon in some Western societies, it remains to be part of the culture of Islamic societies. We believe labeling a dress a security risk does not take into account the nuances of the Islamic culture.
It is also an affront to the minority Muslim population of this country that a symbol of Muslim culture is labeled outright a security risk and further fuels the stereotyping of our Muslim brothers as terrorists.
We therefore request that the Philippine Daily Inquirer, being a respected publication and a leading newspaper in the country, exercise the proper course of action by issuing a retraction and printing a public apology to the offended parties.
The Philippine Center for Photojournalism is an organization established in 1997 and count as its members photojournalists from various newspapers, wire agencies and other publications.
Part of the group’s mission is to establish professionalism in the industry and to promote the ethical practice of photography in the Philippines. We therefore deem it our role to cite instances detrimental to our profession, such as this incident, and call the responsible party/ies to action.
We thank you.
—Fernando Sepe Jr.
Chair Philippine Center for Photojournalism
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines is deeply concerned about the caption that accompanied the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s photo of a woman in a burqa shaking President Aquino’s hand, which was captioned “Security Risk.” [With a question mark –Ed]
It is disturbing that the paper cleared such a blatantly bigoted caption, especially after the firestorm of criticism it reaped in the wake of the Demetrio Vicente fiasco, when the PDI ran a series of unflattering photos of the stroke victim when he appeared at the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona and labeled it “Character witness.”
We are also bothered by the thought that because of the caption writer’s irresponsibility, the blame might be unfairly laid on the photographer whose byline accompanied the photograph.
Clearly, the PDI owes an apology and an explanation to the public, to Muslims and to its own staff photographer.
Needless to say, it should also promise to be extra careful never to let this happen again.
So very sorry
We say so sorry to those who have taken offense over the caption head (“Security Risk?”) for the photo of President Benigno Aquino III shaking the hand of a Muslim woman garbed in a burqa, which appeared on Page 1 of the May 9 issue of the Inquirer.
We are especially sorry to have hurt the feelings of our Muslim brothers and sisters.