#Dysturb: Photojournalists take a stand against the COVID-19 pandemic

To support efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and call on people to respect lockdown, the international photojournalist collective #Dysturb has launched a new information and awareness campaign in the form of an urban display of large-format photographs on the streets of Paris and New York.

Photos have been ​put up on the streets of Paris and New York​, and the team will be travelling to other cities in the coming weeks, including Nairobi (Kenya), Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area (USA).

The campaign, which UNRIC ha​s chosen to highlight World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, presents the work of photographers documenting health crises in different countries.

So far, Dysturb has ​pasted images by Ashley Gilbertson (VII), Nina Berman (Noor), Ismail Ferdous, and Gaia Squarci (Prospekt) taken in the United States; Oscar B. Castillo in Venezuela; Fabio Bucciarelli in Italy; Nichole Sobecki (VII) in Kenya; Laurence Geai and Hugo Aymar in France.

“In Paris, journalists are allowed to go out to work. We paste on walls, in a rather wild way, but always with respect for the environment, monuments and other street artists. This time, the policemen who came across us pasting not only let us do it but congratulated us for the message,” explains Pierre Terdjman, one of the founders of #Dysturb.

For several years now, this collective, whose slogan is “In News We Trust” – We believe in information”, has been proposing to take news out of the traditional media and put it directly on the street, for all to see, in the form of large posters with captions and stuck on city walls. #Dysturb also has an international program for schools.

“​The #Dysturb mission is to (re)connect global citizens with the news and inspire action for a more just and sustainable model of society”, Terdjman added.

In 2015, #Dysturb partnered with UNRIC to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. Photographers, members of the collective, put up 70 photos in the streets of Paris telling the story of humanitarian, climate and human rights crises around the world and the response of the UN and its agencies on the ground.

Last year, #Dysturb worked on the issue of women’s rights with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and put up several photos in New York as part of the “Women Matter” campaign. A partnership also took place in Brussels with the European Union on the theme “Women and Migration” in 2018.

In the long term, #Dysturb is pursuing its commitment to education. This pandemic has once again highlighted the risks of online disinformation and the team continues to develop educational kits to fight fake news and give young people the tools to protect themselves. In a few days, #Dysturb, CatchLight, and The Everyday Projects, a group of internationally influential visual media organizations will launch a collaborative journalism initiative to combat misinformation about COVID-19. The project is supported by a grant from the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships.


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