One of the paid services we use here at Hungarian Conservative is the AFP photo library, to get copyright-cleared photos to illustrate our written content. However, using the service daily, we noticed some oddities which could be the result of political bias.
Agence France-Presse, better known as AFP for short, is considered to be one of the ‘big three’ global news agencies, along with Reuters and the Associated Press. Reuters and AP are two non-profit organizations. The former is headquartered in New York City, New York in the United States, while the latter is headquartered in London, United Kingdom. AFP, on the other hand, is a for-profit corporation, and is based in Paris, France.
All these agencies have long, long histories. AFP is the oldest one of them, having been founded in 1835 (under the name Havas), followed by AP in 1846, then Reuters in 1851.
AFP is present in 151 countries, has an annual revenue of hundreds of millions of euros, and has over 2,400 employees (not including freelance contractors)—their impact on global news media is undeniably immense.
Given their size,
it was especially odd that we could not find any images in their library of a major protest taking place right in their ‘backyard’ in Paris, France earlier this month.
On 12 November, over 100,000 people marched on the streets of the French capital to show support for the local Jewish community. Since the outbreak of the Hamas-Israel war in early October, antisemitic attacks have increased three-fold in France. The 12 November demonstration was called by the leaders of both chambers of the French Parliament, the Senate and the National Assembly; and was accordingly attended by major figures of the French political world. Former Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande were among the marchers, so were National Assembly Speaker Yaël Braun-Pivet, Senate Chief Gérard Larcher, and Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne.
Yet, when searching for keywords such as ‘Paris protest,’ ‘antisemitism march Paris,’ or ‘France protest antisemitism,’ the users will find images of a counterprotest organized for the same day in Paris by the far-left La France Insoumise (LFI) party, who also stood up against hatred against Jews; however, they objected to the presence of the right-wing party Rassemblement National (RN) at the ‘main’ protest. Still, both in size and in the calibre of major figures in attendance, the rally attended by RN dwarfed that of LFI, yet AFP is not posting, or at least not made searchable, images of that event. Photos of events from many years prior also come up, but none of the 12 November protest called by the French legislature.
Similarly, if we search for keywords such as ‘Israel Palestine’ we get images of pro-Palestinian protests across the world, as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad Al-Maliki of Palestine speaking in defence of his nation at a UN Security Council meeting. When we search the keywords ‘Israel war,’ we get results of images of recently freed Palestinian prisoners reuniting with their loved ones, but no such images of the Israeli hostages. For the search inquiry ‘Palestine war,’ we get more photos of pro-Palestinian demonstrations.
whether you use the term ‘Israel protest’ or ‘Palestine protest,’ images of pro-Palestinian demonstrations outnumber pro-Israel marches by a large proportion, and those are also the first results.
That is despite the fact those gatherings tend to have antisemitic chants and expressions regularly occurring. Recent reports have even revealed that there have been cases of Jewish French citizens denied service expressly because of them being Jewish by Muslim or simply pro-Palestinian taxi drivers and hairdressers, among others. In the state of Hungary, terrorist-sympathizer pro-Palestine demonstrations are not even allowed by the government, and there have been zero anti-Semitic acts reported since 7 October.