Espen Egil Hansen, CEO of Norway’s Largest Newspaper, Aftenposten has accused Facebook founder, Zuckerberg of power abuse over the ban of the iconic Napalm girl’s image.
The editor in chief dedicated an open letter in an issue of his editorial to register his dismay that Facebook ordered his news agency to remove the Facebook image that portrayed the impact of the Vietnam war.
According to Facebook, uploading images with nudity on them is not welcome on the social network.
In defense of the picture, the Aftenposten CEO, who is currently suspended from Facebook says he was disappointed that Mark Zuckerberg who could equally pass for the most powerful editor in chief in the world could not differentiate between child pornography and a war photograph.
“I am worried that the world’s most important medium is limiting freedom instead of trying to extend it and that this occasionally happens in an authoritarian way.”
“If you will not distinguish between child pornography and documentary photographs from a war, this will simply promote stupidity and fail to bring human beings closer to each other.”
The Aftenposten image contained military men in the background and wailing children; one of whom was naked. The children were victims of the Napalm attack in June 1972.
The Napalm girl has been identified as Kim Phuc who was 9-years old at the time. She was photographed running for her life alongside other children.
Napalm is an anti-personnel weapon that sticks to the skin and causes severe burns when on fire. Kim suffered 3rd degree burns from the attack and had to undergo series of corrective surgeries later on.
The Napalm girl picture is a popular and sensitive iconic image. Thus renowned editors and media consultants believe that Facebook may need to re-address the decision to pull down the image.
Social media consultant Sue Llewellyn understood Facebook’s stand not to make exceptions when it comes playing by the rules of the network. But on the other hand she thinks this case is quite different.
Most media agencies today patronize Facebook in order to reach a wider audience. And if Facebook must make censorship on the content of the network, Sue says it has to accept the role of an editor.
“You can’t be a distributor of news without having editorial responsibilities. They can’t keep washing their hands of it and then censoring content.”
The infuriated Aftenposten CEO maintains that the Napalm girl’s image ban was an infringement of democracy.
“Independent media is the foundation for democracy.”
“Facebook’s censorship is an attack on the freedom of expression – and therefore on democracy.”