iMediaEthics has covered several allegations of fake photos or footage used in coverage of the conflict in the Gaza Strip. Many see it as an ongoing problem, and an Israeli blogger thinks he has found the most recent incident.
Yisreal Medad points to four AP photos in his January 25 post on his blog My Right Word. He believes all are staged. The first two purport to show Palestinian children playing some sort of game (looks like Simon Says?) in the midst of the rubble of their former homes. The caption reads, “Surrounded by mountains of rubble that were once their homes, Palestinian children play in Jebaliya, northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009. Psychologists say the fighting traumatized Gaza’s children like none of the previous conflicts with Israel because it taught them that no place is safe. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)”
In an email, Medad told imediaethics: “The background/backdrop of the first two indicates that these kids were brought there. no kids stand like that with hands up in unison without being instructed to do so.”
The next photo caption says “Saja Abed Rabbo, 5, stands amid the rubble of her devastated neighborhood in Jebaliya, northern Gaza Strip, Jan. 25, 2009, talking to Gaza trauma counselor Mustafa Haj-Ahmed. The little girl, along with her family, fled under fire during the first days of Israel’s ground offensive. Psychologists say Israel’s war on Hamas inflicted unprecedented trauma on Gaza’s children because it taught them that no place is safe. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus).” Medad believes the man speaking to Saja is actually a photographer because he says, “I thought I spied a camera strap on his shoulder.” It is hard to tell from the photograph if it’s indeed a camera strap, but with the way coverage of Gaza has been going, we can’t rule out the possibility.
Finally, Medad finds it suspect that the woman in the fourth photo is holding a video camera, taking footage of the wreckage of Palestinian homes.
Medad is the former director of Israel’s Media Watch. In his blog Green-Lined, for the Jerusalem Post, Medad explains his goal: “I will provide you with a different and, I hope, a unique perspective on Israel, Jewish life and other issues that relate to our life. More than that, I will correct errors, explain how bias works and show you a new world of thinking and doing that originates over-the-Green-Line.” There is no hard evidence that these photos are staged, but Medad’s suspicions are in line with the many photoshopped and staged photos that have already emerged from coverage of the latest conflict in Gaza.