Iconic photo agency joins IWF to ensure the safety of images in their archive

Published:  Tue 23 Feb 2021

Historic photographic cooperative Magnum Photos has joined the Internet Watch Foundation in support of its mission to create an internet that is a safe place for everyone.

They reached out to the IWF after concerns were raised about difficult and challenging images in the archive, mostly photojournalistic in nature. 

The IWF, which is the UK-based charity responsible for finding and removing child sexual abuse material from the internet, is now working with Magnum Photos to assess whether certain images in their archive meet IWF standards for the safeguarding of children online.

Magnum Photos is also in the process of strengthening its commitment to child safeguarding through an independent review and is undertaking its own wider archive review of ethics, context and access. 

Trained IWF analysts are working closely with Magnum to assess a selection of images from the agency’s archive and to ensure none depict any child sexual abuse content.

IWF analysts have assessed 1,621 of Magnum’s sensitive images of children and young people.

These images were found not to have met the IWF’s thresholds for action.

As an IWF member, Magnum Photos will have an ongoing relationship with the IWF and will be drawing on analysis and expertise as required.

Caitlin Hughes, CEO of Magnum Photos said: "Magnum wholeheartedly supports the mission of the IWF. We are grateful for their invaluable advice as part of our review of archive material, and in the ongoing relationship we are developing."

Olivia Arthur, President of Magnum Photos said: “As a collective of photographers, we understand the serious responsibility that comes with the work we do and the power of the images that we create.

“Making work that documents difficult subjects in the world is an important pillar of freedom of expression, but we recognise this must be done in a responsible way that protects the people involved.

“This means going beyond what is simply legally required, and ensuring we are always upholding the high ethical standards expected of us."

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF, said: “We know how profoundly images or videos of child sexual abuse can impact on people, be it those who stumble across them by mistake on the internet, or the victims themselves, who are re-victimised over and over again whenever this content is shared.

“Where child sexual abuse material is concerned, there can be no room for doubt. Children’s safety and wellbeing must always come first.

“This is why we are pleased to be working with Magnum Photos to make sure their archive is not hosting any illegal content.

“Magnum Photos has done the right thing by being proactive. They have shown there can be no tolerance for illegal material.”

Find out more about joining the IWF’s fight to keep the internet safe at https://www.iwf.org.uk/become-a-member

Images and videos of online child sexual abuse can be reported anonymously at https://report.iwf.org.uk/en

 The public is given this advice when making a report:

  • Do report images and videos of child sexual abuse to the IWF to be removed. Reports to the IWF are anonymous.
  • Do provide the exact URL where child sexual abuse images are located.
  • Don’t report other harmful content – you can find details of other agencies to report to on the IWF’s website.
  • Do report to the police if you are concerned about a child’s welfare,
  • Do report only once for each web address – or URL. Repeat reporting of the same URL isn’t needed and wastes analysts’ time.
  • Do report non-photographic visual depictions of the sexual abuse of children, such as computer-generated images. Anything of this nature, which is also hosted in the UK, the IWF can get removed.

Notes to editors:

  • IWF analysts assess child sexual abuse material according to the levels detailed in the Sentencing Council's Sexual Offences Definitive Guidelines.
  • These regulations outline the different categories of child sexual abuse material, from Category A (the most severe) to Category C, which the IWF can take action against.
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