“Her name is Lam Thi Dep (Dep means beautiful in Vietnamese), the picture was taken in 1972 at Soc Trang Province by Vietnamese journalist Minh Truong. “You could find women like her almost everywhere during the war”, said the photographer. “She was only 24 years old but had been widowed twice. Both her husbands were soldiers”. She’s wielding a M-16, the standard issue American soldier’s rifle. Usually this type of photos were taken for propaganda purposes. North Vietnamese women were deeply involved at all levels of the military campaign throughout the war, especially at the business end, fighting against the American-led forces in the jungle.”

A photo that may be propaganda is a solid RLE for a discussion of “accuracy.” Producers of propaganda photos can include the photographer and the government / organization that commissioned the photo. Anyone using the photo to creat knowledge is also a producer, although in a different way.

The “users” in the case of a propaganda photo include the people that the creator of the photo would be trying to manipulate.

The use of propaganda photos during times of conflict is quite common; citizens (“users”) hold some responsibility to be aware of attempt to manipulate them.

Governments have a responsibility to treat citizens honestly (i.e. “accurately”). However, a Machiavellian-style of argument might be that it is a government’s ultimate responsibility to defeat enemies in war and the use of propaganda is acceptable in wartime.


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