A group shot of young environmental activists at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, appeared in final form without one of the activists. Vanessa Nakate of Uganda was missing from the photo of Greta Thunberg, Luisa Neubauer, Loukina Tille and Isabelle Axelsson. All the young women in the photo were white.
Nakate confronted AP about the incident on Twitter. “Why did you remove me from the photo? I was part of the group!”
“My message was left out, and my photo was left out as well,” she said.
“We don’t deserve this,” continued Nakate. “Africa is the least emitter of carbons, but we are the most affected by the climate crisis,” she said. “You erasing our voices won’t change anything. You erasing our stories won’t change anything.”
“You didn’t just erase a photo. You erased a continent. But I am stronger than ever,” Nakate said later on Twitter.
In a statement released on Friday, AP Executive Editor Sally Buzbee apologized for the incident. “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,” Buzbee said.
“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,” she added.
Unfortunately it wasn’t the only media error. Other agencies, including Reuters, misidentified Nakate as Zambian activist Natasha Mwansa. Reuters’ currently available version of the photograph identifies the other four activists in the picture but not Nakate.
Nakate is the founder of the Youth for Future Africa and the Africa-based Rise Up Movement.
In December 2019, Nakate was one of a handful of youth activists to speak at the COP25 gathering in Spain.
In early January 2020, she joined around 20 other youth climate activists from around the world to publish a letter to participants at the World Economic Forum, calling on companies, banks and governments to immediately stop subsidizing fossil fuels.
She was one of five international delegates invited by Arctic Basecamp to camp with them in Davos during the World Economic Forum; the delegates later joined a climate march on the last day of the Forum.
SOURCE: Global Information Network