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    Cameras that lie – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Is there anything in Judaism that forbids touching up and distorting camera images in order to deceive the public?

    photoshop touching up imagesA. It is one of the great tragedies of the contemporary world. Though the Ten Commandments forbid the bearing of false witness, here we have false witness paraded before our eyes every day. No longer is it true that the camera does not lie. The fact is that the camera does lie, or rather the people that operate the camera use it to peddle falsehoods that are so dangerous that they can destroy our own civilisation.

    If they do it for financial or political gain they are a particularly insidious form of mercenaries. The Bible calls mercenaries Och’lei Shulchan Izevel – “People who eat at Jezebel’s table”, because Ahab’s wife Jezebel hired mercenaries to say whatever she programmed them to say.

    How do we control the misuse and abuse of the camera and indeed of the power of the pen and of human speech?

    If the media and those who control it do not want, Samson-like, to bring the global edifice crashing down around them, they have to work fast and work hard to formulate an ethic. I wish I could say that the United Nations should do something about it but I suspect that the organisation has lost so much credibility that it too is among the Och’lei Shulchan Izevel.

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