Sunday, October 01, 2006


In her critical opinion piece in the online magazine: Art'ishake Canadian activist Danielle Goldfinger examines "Development Pornography" - the use by NGOs of shocking, graphic images of people (usually in the global South) in conditions of dire poverty in order to prompt donations from the general public.

While Goldfinger argues that these efforts are "well intentioned" they have "disastrous consequences." In her opinion piece, Ms. Goldfinger sets out to "illustrate the consequences of development pornography," identify "new trends in ethical marketing" and illustrate "what more can be done to ensure that NGOS use responsible communication plans to access funding."

She goes on to discuss how development pornography, among other things, creates and solidifies stereotypes, dehumanizes those individuals depicted in the images as well as those whom the images are meant to represent and how it masks the root causes of poverty.

In her writing, Ms. Goldfinger brings to the fore the debate within the development community over the ethics of using development pornography in marketing and the reforms that have been suggested as a result of that debate. She recommends that NGOs should get involved in advocating for justice rather than just sending funds to poverty stricken countries. Ms. Goldfinger points out that NGO should make the public aware of the connection between poverty and unfair trade laws and overburdensom debt arrangements.

Ms. Goldfinger also advocates for a "Code of Ethics" among NGOs that will bring a greater degree of transparency to NGO fundraising and inform the public of the source and use of funds collected.

Ms Goldfinger's editorial "Development Pornography: Images of the Global South" can be found in PDF format at the following link:

It is on page 4 of the Spring 2006 issue of Art'ishake .

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