Nairobi attacks
© Reuters / Baz Ratner
People are evacuated by a member of security forces from the Dusit hotel compound siege, in Nairobi, Kenya on January 15, 2019.
The New York Times has been excoriated online for its decision to publish highly-graphic images of victims of the Nairobi terrorist attack, with many accusing 'the paper of record' of hypocrisy, double standards and even racism.

The NYT's article covering the attack, penned by the organization's East Africa Bureau Chief Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, contains images of bullet-riddled bodies slumped over in a restaurant which was targeted during a lengthy siege that was still ongoing at time of publication. At least 21 people were killed, including an American and a British citizen.


Shortly after publication the hashtags #SomeoneTellNYTimes and #DeportKimiko began trending on Twitter, as Kenyans expressed their outrage at what they deemed was sensationalist coverage at the expense of positive stories surrounding the attack, such as ordinary Kenyans risking their lives to evacuate survivors and massive blood drives to help treat shooting victims.

Many called for Freytas-Tamura to be fired or even deported altogether.



Freytas-Tamura initially directed her critics to the New York Times' photo desk saying she had no influence over the photos selected for inclusion in the piece, before deleting the thread and republishing the NYT's statement on the matter.

The offending photos, taken by the AP's Khalil Senosi, are still included in the NYT's coverage as of Thursday morning, and there is still no graphic content warning.

Senosi's photo was distributed by the Associated Press (AP) and published by various outlets including the UK's MailOnline, Daily Mirror and the Sun, in addition Germany'sBild, but the New York Times bore the brunt of Kenyan ire and international outrage.


Comment: Perhaps because most people are accustomed to seeing outrageous content in the tabloid press, but are still laboring under the false assumption that the NYT holds to a higher standard of journalism..that time has long since passed.






It is not the first time, and it certainly won't be the last, that such graphic images were published in coverage of terrorist atrocities, though it has ignited discussion about the differences in coverage between Western and African victims and survivors.




The Times did, however, publish photos of victims and survivors of the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting in which 59 people died and 851 people were injured.

Many pointed to Western media coverage of Africa in general, with some highlighting that Nairobi's terrorist threat level is no worse than London or Paris, while others decried the lack of positive or empowering coverage of Kenya.