Correspondent / behind the news

Behind the image

A staff member at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme examines a 14-year-old male orangutan found with air gun pellets embedded in his body, in Sibolangit district, northern Sumatra island, April 16, 2014. (AFP Photo/Sutanta Aditya)

Persecuted for palm oil

Sutanta Aditya, a photographer who works with AFP, took these astonishing photos of a critically endangered Sumatran orangutan being treated at conservation centre in western Indonesia after the primate was found with air gun pellets embedded in his body. Here Aditya describes how he saw the creature being treated.  

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Above the fold

Win Tin: From AFP editor to Myanmar political dissident

Tuesday 22 April 2014 - Eye witness

The dissident and former journalist Win Tin in his Yangon home, June 2013. (AFP Photo / Ye Aung Thu)

Win Tin, 84, was the country’s longest serving political prisoner and, with Aung San Suu Kyi, co-founded the National League for Democracy. He started his career in the early 1950s as a night editor for AFP in Yangon, before entering into politics after the 1962 coup. AFP's Myanmar correspondent Hla Hla Htay and the former Yangon bureau chief Didier Lauras recently met with Win Tin in his home. (AFP Photo/Ye Aung Thu)

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When “Gabo” would ask me for a yellow rose

Friday 18 April 2014 - Behind the image

Garcia Marquez on his 87th birthday, March 6, 2014, in Mexico. (AFP Photo/Yuri Cortez)

A giant of international literature, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who died April 17, was also a journalist. In the 1970s, he founded the Alternativa magazine, which would go on to inform a generation of Colombian activists before it closed under a mountain of debt.

It was there that Kelly Velasquez, who is currently an AFP correspondent in Rome, met Garcia Marquez. (AFP Photo/Yuri Cortez)

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In praise of the ‘Konbini’

Monday 14 April 2014 - Eye witness

A kombini news stand. (AFP Photo / Yoshikazu Tsuno)

Since I arrived in Japan 18 months ago, I’ve been saying to myself that to write about the ‘Konbini’, these incredible supermarkets that stay open 24/7, would be too much of a cliche, a faux pas typical of the hack fresh off the boat. But what the hell. I want to write about it, so here we go: The Konbini.

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In search of the prophet

Thursday 10 April 2014 - Eye witness

T.B. Joshua (AFP Photo/Robert Leslie)

AFP video journalist Robert Leslie goes on a mission to Lagos, where he tries to interview Nigeria's best known healer-preacher, a self-styled "commissioned" voice of Jesus Christ. (AFP Photo/Robert Leslie)

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The priest with a huge heart

Wednesday 9 April 2014 - Eye witness

Father Frans van der Lugt posing at the monastery of the Jesuit Fathers where he lived in the besieged area of Homs in Syria. (AFP Photo/Mohammed Abu Hamza)

Beirut-based AFP journalist Karim Abou Merhi reflects on the life and death of Father Frans van der Lugt, the Dutch priest who was murdered in Homs this week. Abou Merhi had interviewed the peace activist via Skype in February and was struck by his unshakable desire to help the Syrian people, and the hope he continued to express despite enduring hardship

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Witness to genocide: Rwanda's horror

Tuesday 8 April 2014 - Eye witness

A traumatised girl stands amid the bodies of more than 100 of her compatriots who were trampled to death. (AFP Photo/Pascal Guyot)

KIGALI, April 11, 1994 --- I watch soldiers kill off the wounded in the hospital. With bayonets. Two young men are added to the bodies already piling up all over the courtyard. The morgue is flowing over.

I am witnessing a scene of indescribable violence and horror. I am authorized to be here, to observe, describe and tell the story, but without a notebook and without asking any questions. Later, I write. Badly, because the words won’t come.

Annie Thomas, who at the time of the genocide in Rwanda working as an East Africa correspondent, was one of the few journalists to witness the horror of what was happening. (AFP Photo/Pascal Guyot)

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The pain of others: Photographing despair

Monday 7 April 2014 - Behind the image

A woman shows ID belonging her daughter who was killed in Beichuan, Sichuan, in May 2008. (AFP Photo/Mark Ralston)

The nature of news means journalists frequently are in contact with people experiencing the depths of sorrow or despair. For photographers and video reporters, trying to capture such painful emotions can prove a particular challenge.

Should they remain impassive while a father rages as he holds the lifeless body of his daughter? Should they hesitate before taking a photo? How do you respectfully document people’s grief?

In this blog, some of AFP’s photographers explain the issues and their techniques for documenting tragedy.

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Helping Abuzar

Friday 4 April 2014 - Short Stuff


AFP is setting up a permanent fund to help the son of Sardar Ahmad, an AFP journalist who was killed by the Taliban.

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