Why a newspaper in Germany ran an entire copy without any pictures

Why a newspaper in Germany ran an entire copy without any pictures

Picture: Kai Diekmann/Bild

German newspaper Bild ran its online and print editions without any pictures on Tuesday, instead using text only and grey space where images would usually be.

The country's biggest tabloid said it took the decision after facing a backlash over its choice to publish the moving photographs of three-year-old Syrian boy Aylan al-Kurdi washed up on a beach in Turkey last week.

In an editorial, published on the paper's website, digital editor Julian Reichelt defended the power of photography to shock, to change policy and to alter public opinion.

Without pictures the world would be more ignorant, the needy even more invisible, more lost. Many crimes would simply be forgotten without a visual reminders, no atonement, no penance, no apologies to prevent learning and memory. Photographs are the screams of the world.

  • Julian Reichelt, Bild digital editor

Like many other newspapers last week, Bild chose to publish the image of Aylan laying face down on the beach on a sombre cover page:

Text underneath the image read:

A Syrian child lying dead on the beach in Bodrum, drowned trying to escape the war in his native country, died on the way to Europe.

Images like this have become shamefully commonplace.

We cannot bear them any longer, but we must show them, because they document the historic failure of our civilisation in this refugee crisis.

Europe, this immensely rich continent, will be guilty if we continue to allow children to drown at our coasts.

We have too many ships, too many helicopters, too many reconnaissance planes to continue watching this disaster.

This photo is a message to the whole world, to finally unite and ensure that not a single child dies again on the run.

After all, who are we, what are our values really worth, if we continue to allow this to happen?

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