BBC News uses 'Iraq photo to illustrate Syrian massacre'
17:13, 28 May, 2012

YEREVAN, MAY 28, ARMENPRESS: THE BBC is facing criticism after it
accidentally used a picture taken in Iraq in 2003 to illustrate the
senseless massacre of children in Syria, reports Armenpress citing The
Independent.

Photographer Marco di Lauro said he nearly `fell off his chair' when he saw
the image being used, and said he was `astonished' at the failure of the
corporation to check their sources.

The picture, which was actually taken on March 27, 2003, shows a young
Iraqi child jumping over dozens of white body bags containing skeletons
found in a desert south of Baghdad.

It was posted on the BBC news website today under the heading `Syria
massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows'. The caption states the
photograph was provided by an activist and cannot be independently
verified, but says it is `believed to show the bodies of children in
Houla awaiting burial'. A BBC spokesman said the image has now been
taken down.

Mr di Lauro, a professional photographer, said: `I went home at 3am
and I opened the BBC page which had a front page story about what
happened in Syria and I almost felt of from my chair.

One of my pictures from Iraq was used by the BBC web site as a front
page illustration claiming that those were the bodies of yesterday's
massacre in Syria and that the picture was sent by an activist.
`Instead the picture was taken by me and it's on my web site, on the
feature section regarding a story I did In Iraq during the war called
Iraq, the aftermath of Saddam.

`What I am really astonished by is that a news organization like the BBC
doesn't check the sources and it's willing to publish any picture sent it
by anyone activist, citizen journalist or whatever. That's all.

He added he was less concerned about an apology or the use of image
without consent, adding: `What is amazing it's that a news organization has
a picture proving a massacre that happen yesterday in Syria and instead
it's a picture that was taken in 2003 of a totally different
massacre. `Someone is using someone else picture for propaganda on purpose.'

A spokesman for the BBC said: `We were aware of this image being widely
circulated on the internet in the early hours of this morning following the
most recent atrocities in Syria.

`We used it with a clear disclaimer saying it could not be independently
verified.

`Efforts were made overnight to track down the original source of the
image and when it was established the picture was inaccurate we removed it
immediately.'