VII welcomes discussion of ethical issues; our members have been deeply engaged in conversations about professional standards for many years, both within and outside of VII.
Here is VII’s position on the recent discussion involving one of our members, Ron Haviv, and the sale of a stock photograph for advertising to a U.S. company that manufactures military equipment and work for an NGO sponsored advertising campaign by another defense contractor. As Ron mentioned in his own statement, neither transaction involved VII and was handled solely by his commercial agents.
VII does not limit its photographers’ activities. We recognize that individual members have different moral, political and religious views. We do share ethical standards, including honesty, transparency, journalistic integrity, respect for our subjects and humanitarian concerns.
Some photographers are pacifists while others believe that armed intervention is appropriate in some circumstances to prevent violent attacks on civilians. Both positions are recognized as ethical stances in the modern world.
Ron has stated, “I support humanitarian intervention, détente and defense as I’ve seen what can happen when those things don’t exist.”
VII members applaud Ron’s help for the victims of violence through his images, his advocacy and his actions in the field.
We welcome the debate on the complex issue of sale of images to corporations that challenge editorial relationships, which was sparked by Ron posting the ad on his website. We plan to convene a public meeting at an early date to explore the ethical issues, including the use of force to protect the vulnerable from violent oppression, the role of photography in conflict, and our media’s representation of warfare and social issues.