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Ugandan Activist Accuses Media of Racism After She is Cropped Out of Picture

The photo, where Vanessa Nakate stood with other prominent climate activists Greta Thunberg, Luisa Neubauer, Loukina Tille, and Isabelle Axelsson was distributed when she was cut out. They were attending the annual World Economic Forum.
The original picture distributed by Associated Press after Venessa complaint
A Ugandan young female climate activist has accused international media agency Associated Press (AP) of racism after she was cropped out a photo of activists taken at Davos, Switzerland.

The photo, where Vanessa Nakate stood with other prominent climate activists Greta Thunberg, Luisa Neubauer, Loukina Tille, and Isabelle Axelsson was distributed when she was cut out. They were attending the annual World Economic Forum.

In a video that has now gone viral, Nakate sobs and tells of how it was the “hardest thing” after she saw she had been scrapped out. The video posted at 5:57 PM on Friday evening has now been watched by more than 180,000 viewers.

On Twitter, she wrote that “You didn't just erase a photo. You erased a continent. But I am stronger than ever.”

She added that it “hurts that it happened to me!  I have spoken against it because it is wrong! But at least now I know that it won't happen to any other African climate activist! Now is the time to listen to the African voices!”

The story of the photo has been picked by many prominent news organisations, including the BBC, the Guardian, and Buzzfeed News.

The story became subject of debate online throughout the night bringing to the fore the subject of racism. Online, she received support from various people including the other activists she had taken the photo with.

The Associated Press replaced the cropped photo with the original one and said there was no “ill intent” in cropping out Nakate. The AP said the editing was done on composition grounds.

However, AP executive editor Sally Buzbee has issued an apology to Nakate. She said in a statement: “We regret publishing a photo this morning that cropped out Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate, the only person of color in the photo. As a news organization, we care deeply about accurately representing the world that we cover.”

She added “We train our journalists to be sensitive to issues of inclusion and omission. We have spoken internally with our journalists and we will learn from this error in judgment.”

Venessa has been carrying out solo climate protests in Uganda usually carrying posters calling for action on climate crisis.

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