From the Newseum Collection: Hocine Zaourar’s Camera
Bloody conflict ravaged Algeria in the 1990s, making it a perilous place to practice journalism. On the night of Sept. 23, 1997, several hundred people, including many children, were massacred in an Algerian village. Agence France-Presse photographer Hocine Zaourar followed the wounded to a nearby hospital. Amid throngs of screaming women, one stood out. She was sliding down a wall, as if she were about to faint.
Zaourar’s photograph of a Muslim woman grieving over murdered family members was a riveting portrait of anguish. But controversy over the image led to concerns for the safety of the Algerian photojournalist, who stopped using his last name for a time to protect his identity. When Zaourar won the World Press Photo of the Year award for the photograph, he was identified only as Hocine.
One of Zaourar’s cameras, a testament to the risks journalists take in covering conflicts around the world, will be displayed in the Newseum’s Time Warner World News Gallery. The Nikon F90X is featured in the gallery’s “Dateline: Danger” section, which highlights stories of journalists who risked their lives to report the news.
“Hocine’s work documents the struggles of the people in war-ravaged Algeria,” says Carrie Christoffersen, Newseum curator of collections. “The most interesting thing about this artifact acquisition process is that it was done entirely through the photographer’s news agency, Agence France-Presse, in part dictated by the anonymity needed by Hocine.”
During the 1990s, more than 100,000 Algerians were killed in fighting between the secular Algerian government and extreme Islamic insurgents. Zaourar and other journalists revealed the horror. He survived the threats to his safety and eventually resumed his identity, continuing to work for Agence France-Presse. Other journalists in Algeria were not as fortunate. The Newseum’s Journalists Memorial contains the names of 64 journalists who died covering the news in Algeria. Of the 64 journalists, 61 were killed from 1993 through 1996. Most were believed targeted by Islamic extremists. Since 2001, numerous journalists in Algeria have been fined and imprisoned for criticizing the government.