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Indigenous expertise, dogged reporting lead to exclusive on Cartier use of Yanomami images

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Climate correspondent Fabiano Maisonnave exposed how jeweler Cartier used images of Yanomami, a tribe devastated by gold mining, to cast itself in an environmentally conscious light, an “Only on AP” exclusive that led to Cartier taking down a problematic image and saying it had been a mistake.

In helping cover the latest developments with the Yanomami, Maisonnave noticed something that didn’t feel quite right: The foundation of Cartier, one of the world’s largest jewelers, was associating itself with the Yanomami via art exhibits. The association appeared to contrast with what the Yanomami wanted, as leadership had called on people not to buy gold, which leads to illegal mining. 

Maisonnave drew from deep contacts he has developed over many years of Amazon reporting. He uncovered that Cartier had used images of Yanomami children to laud a conservation project that never existed. Maisonnave interviewed a Yanomami leader who said he was preparing a complaint to Brazil’s public prosecutor’s office. No news organization has done anything remotely similar. The story was picked up widely, including by Brazil’s major news outlet, Globo.

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