Roles and functions of images of cadavers in the media

From New York to Jenine, between September, 2001 and May, 2002, we witness three ways in which corpses are used within the framework of an international crisis. From the hidden deaths, within the framework of a particularly murderous attempt, to the deaths displayed, partially within the framework of a war of reprisals and totally in that of an episode of an apparently unlimited war, a whole story of war is declined. The absence of corpses in the media coverage of conflicts reflects the will of the politico-military system just as much as the degree of voyeurism of a society. But the vision of war has developed throughout History and technical progress. Photography and television brought a radical change, showing eventually the suddenness of death. A political use of death ensued from this progress. The sanctification granted to certain corpses, and refused to others, rests on a will to influence its own camp, and to terrorise the opponent. In a time when bipolar order is no more than a recollection, it has moved into ideology. But the media have their part of responsibility as well, since corpses contribute so much to the running in the audience. –Summary AFRI-2003