By: E&P Staff
If the Rev. Terry Jones and his small flock in Gainesville, Fla., go ahead with their announced plans to burn copies of the Quran on Sept. 11, The Associated Press will not distribute photos or images of the burning, the cooperative’s deputy managing editor for standards and production said Thursday.
In a memo to AP staff, Tom Kent said the wire will “keep our coverage in proportion,” with just a single main spot news story on the planned event each day. AP will not pile on with speculation about the possible effect of the Quran burning in the Mideast or elsewhere, Kent said.
“Although many are speculating on the effect the Quran burning could conceivably have, at the moment it’s a proposal by a tiny group that may or may not even happen,” he wrote.
If it does happen, he added, AP “will not distribute images or audio that specifically show Qurans being burned, and will not provide detailed text descriptions of the burning.” But the wire service does expect to cover the event, “actions of this group of about 50 people in a clear and balanced context.”
“AP policy is not to provide coverage of events that are gratuitously manufactured to provoke and offend,” Kent wrote. “In the past, AP has declined to provide images of cartoons mocking Islam and Jews. AP has often declined to provide images, audio or detailed descriptions of particularly bloody or grisly scenes, such as the sounds and moments of beheadings and shootings, displays of severed heads on pikes and images of hostages who are displayed by hostage-holders in an effort to intimidate their adversaries and advance their cause. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.”