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Images and Messages in Development


Using appropriate images and messages is about creating a balanced debate for what life is like for people living in the Global South. This issue was the theme for One World Week 2010.

In 2010, NYCI produced a resource for exploring this issues with young people: 'Framing Our World: images and messages in development'. Contact NYCI if you would like a hard copy.

The resource pack aims to raise awareness of the reality behind images and messages. It looks at the power relations and stories behind the images we receive about the world we live in. It challenges stereotypes to find a more balanced, just approach to global justice.

The pack details a number of tools to analyse where images and messages come from and their impact. These tools include developing photo-literacy, critical reflection and the Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages. The pack also contains a set of photographs to use with young people.

Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages

NYCI is a member of Dóchas. Dóchas is the association of Irish Non-Governmental Development Organisations. Dóchas provides a forum for consultation and co-operation between its members and helps them speak with a single voice on development issues. Dóchas has a number of working groups including a Development Education Group (DEG) which NYCI is a member of.

In 2007, Dóchas members adopted a Code of Conduct on Images and Messages. The purpose of this Code is to provide a framework which organisations can refer to when designing and implementing their public communication strategy.  The Dóchas Code offers a set of guiding principles that can assist organisations in their decision-making about which images and messages to choose in their communication while maintaining full respect for human dignity.

NYCI is a signatory to the Dóchas Code of Conduct on images and messages. During the famine in the Horn of Afirca in 2011, the Dóchas Development Education group wrote a letter to all Code signatories, reminding them to follow the principles of the Code when communicating with the public about the crisis. You can read the letter here.

In 2011, the NYCI Development Education Youth Advisory Group wrote a youth-friendly version of the Code (published in the 'Framing our World' resource)

Youth-friendly version of the Dóchas Code of Conduct on the use of Images and Messages(drafted by the NYCI Development Education Youth Advisory Group, July 2010).When choosing a photo or any message, remember:

  • To respect people’s feelings and rights
  • That all people deserve equal rights and respect
  • That it’s important to have fairness, justice and support between people all over the world.

When choosing a photo or message, we will always try to show what is real and true in each situation we present, by:

  • Choosing pictures and messages that are fair to all the people involved
  • Not using pictures out of context
  • Explaining fully what the picture is about so we all understand better the situations and difficulties in the world
  • Making sure that people involved in our photos and messages know what it is being used for and are happy to be included
  • Making sure to listen carefully to people’s stories and telling their stories in the way it was told to us
  • Taking the people’s names and details if they wish and then using them correctly in our report
  • Respecting the rights of all people, especially those at risk or in danger.

For the full Code visit www.Dó