BBC Trending warns of misrepresented photo, BBC correspondent Tweets it

h/t A

On December 16th BBC Trending produced a brief report about a photograph of a toddler’s blood-soaked shoe which was being promoted on social media as having been taken at the scene of the terror attack in Peshawar on the same day. As was pointed out, the photograph was in fact taken in 2008 in the southern Israeli town of Ashkelon after a missile attack from the Gaza Strip.

The next day, BBC Trending uncovered more information about the photograph and updated its report. The article appears on the BBC News website’s Middle East page under the amended title “Israeli photographer ‘horrified’ at use of bloody shoe photo“.BBC Trending shoe art

The article states:

“BBC Trending tracked down the photographer, Edi Israel, who says he took the photo while working as a freelancer in Ashkelon in May 2008. In that incident, a rocket was fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza into Israel, injuring dozens.

“I’m horrified to know that the picture has moved to Pakistan, and that it’s being used like that,” Edi Israel says. “This is a known phenomenon that people take a photo from one place and use it like it was elsewhere.”

The “recycling” of shocking photos is indeed common on social media in the wake of attacks – for instance we reported on the sharing of old images under the hashtag #GazaUnderAttack earlier this year.”

However, the image in question was not only misleadingly promoted on social media on December 16th as having been photographed in Pakistan. A Dutch journalist inaccurately claimed that it was actually taken in the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014 and his disinformation was in turn retweeted by the BBC’s correspondent in Libya Rana Jawad.  

Rana Jawad Tweet

Once again it is clear that the BBC’s social media guidelines are not effective in preventing breaches of accuracy and impartiality by its correspondents on the ground. 


Rana Jawad has put out a correction to the inaccurate retweet. 


7 comments on “BBC Trending warns of misrepresented photo, BBC correspondent Tweets it

  1. I am sure I am not alone in sending a reply to RJ’s retweet to give her the correct information about this photograph. It will be interesting to see if she corrects it, simply deletes it, or let’s it stay there in the full knowledge that it is an egregious falsification – egregious once she knows it is a falsification and because the point it is clearly attemting to make is, sickeningly, the opposite of the one it really makes. These small things should be recorded; it is in the smallest areas that the the really institutionalised nature of what is revealed about BBC ‘journailsm’ (opinionism) with regard to Israel, and more generally Jews, is at its clearest. If she deletes it rather than corrects it, it matters – it matters a great deal and should be remembered.

  2. RJ has taken down the original retweet and provided a link to the accurate story; fair play up to a point (well, even that much could by no means guaranteed elsewhere at the BBC). There is of course no sense in her ‘this is to correct’ that there was anything remotely troubling about a journalist posting unconsidered, unchecked, false information simply because it suits a preconceived agenda. An apology for putting up misleading material and some sort of commitment to accuracy in future, even if impartiality is too much to ask, would have been appropriate. Fat chance!

  3. Note, of course, that she only gives the link and the word ‘correction’, the word ‘Israel’ does not appear. So you only find out the truth if you click on the link.

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