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The risk of false evidence can lead to a ‘regressus ad infinitum’ The Eyewitness in the Media 23 (Thomas 2009, 102, italics in original text), in which new witnesses are called in to verify, rectify, or reject the testimonies of previous witnesses. , Butenschön 2011). Regarding the issue of trust, different measures have, as already mentioned, been presented in a legal context to deal with the ‘poor epistemological quality’ of testimonies (Peters 2005, 251), just as guidelines are set up for whoever may witness.

In contrast to eyewitness footage from natural disasters shot by people who happen to be on location and feel compelled to bear witness, picture makers in areas of conflicts often operate in 28 Journalism and Eyewitness Images a grey zone between documentation and participation—a point soon to be further scrutinized. For example, the pictures from the Abu Ghraib prison may hardly be contained in the term ‘citizen images’, since the prison guards did not take the pictures in their capacity as ‘citizens’, and their institutional and organizational affiliation would be important to recognize in most analytical approaches to the case.

Furthermore, due to the institutional ambiguity of eyewitness images, the meaning inherent in their contribution to communicating events is often unstable and open to various interpretations and framings. A final aspect to be touched upon in relation to institutional ambiguity regards the tendency for eyewitness reports to show more graphic scenes than their professionally produced counterparts. The news media appear more inclined to show explicitly violent amateur recordings, perhaps because they are already available in the public domain (Pantti and Bakker 2009, 472).

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