ALAPPUZHA: Ace photographer turned war hero Nick Ut bemoaned the ‘limited’ freedom enjoyed by the media today while interacting with mediapersons in Alappuzha on Tuesday. He was on a visit to the district along with Raul Roa, the photo editor of the ‘Los Angeles Times’.He shared some of the greatest moments he had experienced on the war field of Vietnam in the 1970s. “Today, the media enjoys limited freedom. If a photo like my ‘Napalm girl’ is clicked nowadays, it might never see light.”
“I had enjoyed complete freedom as a press photographer even on the war field. The soldiers allowed me to click photos after producing my Associated Press ID card. However, now such freedom is not allowed to mediapersons and restrictions are imposed today,” Nick said.
The picture of nine-year-old girl, Phan Thi Kim Phuc (informally known as the Napalm girl), was taken at Trang Bang district of Vietnam in June 1972. The photo fetched him the privileged Pulitzer Prize. Nick, who came to know about the Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna temple, expressed his interest to visit the temple. He reached the temple at around noon with his friend and Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty explaining the history of the shrine and Kunchan Nambiar.
He, subsequently, watched ottamthullal and learnt of ‘Mizhavu’ (Kunchan Nambiar’s percussion instrument) placed on the premises of the temple. The temple authorities gifted him the famous Ambalappuzha ‘paal payasam’. After the temple visit, he paid tribute to the martyrs of Punnapara-Vayalar uprising at Valiyachudukadu. He also visited a coir factory at Muhamma and interacted with the coir workers. Prior to the media interaction, he roamed around Alappuzha, Ambalappuzha, Kalavoor, Muhamma and the backwaters with Resul Pookutty.