Front Page censored

On January 29th, the Asia edition of the International New York Times ran on its front page the picture I took, of a gay couple kissing on a pedestrian overpass in Changsha (Hunan). The picture was going along with a story about the couple failed attempt to have their marriage registered by the local civil affair bureau. (read the excellent story by Ed Wong here)

In Pakistan, where the newspaper is printed and distributed via the English language daily Expresss Tribune, the front page picture was censored, leaving instead a big white square. A caption read “This picture was removed by our publishing alliance in Pakistan,”. Kammal Siddiqi editor of The Express Tribune explained in an email to the Washington Post that his newspaper has a long-standing agreement with the New York Times that it can refuse to publish articles or photographs that “may cause problems locally.” “You will not see a picture in Pakistan of men kissing,” Siddiqi said. “In fact, you will not see a picture of anyone kissing.”

Sad state of things that in some places, images of love are offensive, while images of violence are perfectly acceptable.