The Associated Press (AP) caused uproar yesterday when they announced their intention to sell an NFT of migrants in a crowded boat.
The image in question was taken by photojournalist Felipe Dana and featured migrants crowded on a raft, crossing the Mediterranean Sea. The official handle of AP tweeted that they are going ahead with releasing the NFT of the short video on their newly-launched NFT marketplace. The tweet was met almost immediately with derision, as people called it out as ‘profit-seeking from misery’. The tweet stayed up for almost 4 hours before being taken down.
Later, an AP spokesperson sent a detailed email clarifying their position: “This was a poor choice of imagery for an NFT. It has not and will not be put up for auction. AP’s NFT marketplace is a very early pilot program, and we are immediately reviewing our efforts. As a not-for-profit, AP’s mission is to inform the world with accurate, unbiased journalism. That remains our primary focus.”
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AP had launched their NFT marketplace barely a month ago, on January 31. The goal of the marketplace was to sell visually-striking images and videos shot by their journalist as NFTs. The proceeds from the sales were to go directly into funding the non-profit media house. However, the NFTs sold thus far on the website do not depict any kind of human misery. It must be noted that just prior to the marketplace being launched, AP had announced their intention to sell an NFT related to the Israel-Palestine conflict. The NFT featured the Pulitzer Prize-winning image of a Jewish settler challenging an armed soldier on the West Bank. However, since then, the newsroom hasn’t commented on its potential sale.