An Israeli military blog reportedly used a photo of a shopping mall thousands of miles away in a post designed to prove that Gaza was not an “open-air prison”.
Titled What Happened to the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) post features photographs purporting to show Gazans playing volleyball on the beach, a luxury hotel, modern supermarket and images reflecting nightlife in the Palestinian territory. At the end, it quotes a tweet from @IDFSpokesperson – now apparently deleted – reading: “People say there is a humanitarian crisis in #Gaza. The hotels, beaches, malls & nightlife say otherwise. #MythBusted”. However, the picture of a mall later became conspicuous by its absence.
The Jerusalem-based Times of Israel explains: “The pictures did indeed show a different reality to the Gaza the world has become accustomed to seeing… but there was a slight problem with one of the snaps… The gorgeous mall in the photograph is not actually in Gaza. It is, rather, the Suria KLCC mall… in Kuala Lumpur.” The photograph had initially been called into question by comments suggesting it showed a mall in Hyderabad, India, before it was identified as the Malaysian centre. The blog later issued a correction admitting: “A photo previously included in this article was incorrectly sourced. It has been removed.”
Meanwhile, a Venezuelan newspaper website placed a “censored” stamp over its masthead after it was fined for publishing graphic images of near-naked corpses lying in a morgue to accompany a story about rising crime in 2010. The charges against El Nacional were reportedly brought under child protection legislation, on the basis the images represented “a danger to the psychological well-being of children and adolescents”. But the paper’s lawyer Juan Garantor argues it’s an attack on freedom of expression. Another Caracas newspaper, the pro-opposition Tal Cual, was also fined for showing the image on its front page.
The government has argued that outdated stretchers visible in the image proved it was taken in 2006 and that conditions in the morgue had since improved. But El Nacional’s editor Miguel Otero told CNN shortly after publication that his paper had always made clear the image was taken in December 2009 and that he’d used it “to create a shock so that people could in some way react to a situation that the government has done absolutely nothing about”.