Is God Misogynist? | Abbas
In 1985, the Catholic Church started World Youth Day, a biannual/triannual event where young believers celebrate their faith. In August 1997, such event was held in Paris where Magnum’s Abbas photographed three women praying in the street.
Three years later, the magazine L’Express used the photograph in an article entitled «Dieu est-il misogyne?» (“Is God misogynist?”). The article denounced «offenses faites aux femmes au nom de Dieu» (“Offenses done to women in the name of God”), by all three major religions. (Full Article Here).
Two of the three women in the photo sued the magazine for the breach of their reputation and privacy. They claimed that their reputation was “violated” and they suffered “moral and emotional damage”. The complainants claimed that when they knelt on the Place Dauphine, it was a public demonstration of their faith.
L’Express and Magnum countersued, with the support of Association Nationale des Journalistes, Reporters, Photographes et Cinéastes (National Association of Journalists, Reporters, Photographers, and Filmmakers or ANJRPC). Their demand was a symbolic euro in damages for abusive use of the law. Melodramatically, the magazine told the court, “You have in your hands the future of photojournalism.”
The photo opened a debate over whether photographers and journalists need to seek the agreement of all the people photographed in a public place, and in 2002, the court ruled in favor of freedom of expression, while sanctioning the magazine for using the photo out of context. This solomonic ruling reaffirmed the right to publish a photograph taken without the consent of the people at a public event.