AbstractSeveral scholars acknowledge the important role that journalism has in promoting accountability. Precisely how television news images contribute to triggering accountability dynamics, however, remains virtually unexplored. With this in mind, this study aims at a theoretical specification regarding the potential of video images to provoke public debates supporting accountability. Taking into consideration a case of extreme police violence - “Favela Naval Event”, which occurred in Diadema, São Paulo, Brazil - the authors analyze how TV news constructs the denunciation of police brutality and shapes controversies regarding attribution of responsibilities. Several dimensions of accountability are addressed in a range of competitive contexts that underscore the debate concerning the
meaning of such scandalous images. This study challenges the common sense view that images degenerate the public sphere.
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