Publishing Fake Photo a 'Painful Episode,' Phillipines Newspaper Tells iMed

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The fake photo published by the Daily Inquirer. (Credit: Inquirer via Rappler, screenshot)

Philippines newspaper The Daily Inquirer was hoaxed by a fake photo of a Time magazine cover last month as iMediaEthics wrote at the time.

The image, which the Manila-based newspaper published on its front page, showed Philippines president Benigno Aquino III on the cover of Time magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People in the World” issue.  The newspaper quickly apologized for using the doctored image, with its editor-in-chief calling it an “honest mistake.”

iMediaEthics has since heard from the newspaper’s readers’ advocate Elena Pernia with a little more information about this error.  Calling the front-page photo fail a “painful episode,” Pernia told iMediaEthics by email that an unnamed editor at the the Daily Inquirer got the photo off the internet but didn’t check its authenticity.

“An editor saw the image online and considered it for publication,” Pernia wrote. “Standard newsroom protocols to vet online images, unfortunately, were not followed on that particular night,” she added.

According to Pernia, the Daily Inquirer learned the photo was a phony the day of publication after hearing complaints on Twitter.  After those complaints, the Daily Inquirer published a correction on the front page.

Because of the high-profile error, Pernia said the Daily Inquirer set up a “panel…to investigate and recommend action,” and the newspaper is “reviewing our procedures.”

“Appropriate sanctions have been imposed,” Pernia added.

iMediaEthics has asked Pernia multiple times for more information about the panel, how it investigated and what the sanctions included. We’ll update with any news.

In March, Chinese news outlets were hoaxed in a similar way by publishing a phony photo of a Time magazine cover featuring recently deceased politician Wu Renbao.  The real cover featured Jack Abramoff, but Wu’s face was doctored into the cover. Making it a particularly sloppy Photoshop job, the text on the fake image identified Wu as Abramoff.

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Publishing Fake Photo a ‘Painful Episode,’ Phillipines Newspaper Tells iMediaEthics

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