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Monday, March 12, 2012

False Gaza photo posted by UN employee becomes 'top tweet'

A photo of a dead child from Gaza (see above) that has been retweeted more than 300 times in the last 24 hours turns out to be from 2006 and to have nothing to do with any Israeli action in Gaza. The originator of the photo is a United Nations media employee.

This is from the first link:
The photo first tweeted by Khulood Badawi (@KhuloodBadawi) and later by Diana Alzeer (@ManaraRam)...


Both were refuted by tweeter Avi Mayer (@avimayer), who found that the photo dated back to 2009 at least.

Further research revealed that the photo was taken in 2006 by Reuters, and that the girl, initially thought to have been killed in an Israeli air strike, was injured by falling off a swing. When confronted with this information, Alzeer stated that the photo was taken last night and forwarded to the press that day.

In fact, the photo was taken by Reuters on August 9, 2006. It was originally released with an incorrect caption, and then corrected a day later:
A Palestinian man carries the body of three year-old Raja Abu Shaban, in Gaza August 9, 2006. The three-year-old girl who had been reported killed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza on Wednesday actually died of an accident, Palestinian medical workers said on Thursday. Workers at Gaza’s Shifa hospital said on August 10, 2006 that the initial mistake over the cause of death appeared to have arisen because the girl’s corpse was brought in at the same time as the bodies of the gunmen. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES)
Alzeer later published an apology and withdrew her claims. Badawi has yet to respond.
And from the second link....
Khulood Badawi happens to work for the OCHA – the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs where, according to a UN Contact List, she works as an Information and Media Coordinator.

A Google search reveals that Badawi has a history of activism in a range of pro-Palestinian non-governmental organizations, some of them radical and politicized. While this background may not in itself disqualify her from a career with the UN, it is absolutely unacceptable that a UN employee working specifically on dissemination of information to the media and public tweets malicious and false information to libel Israel.
I trust that Ban Ki-Moon will have her fired immediately and issue an apology... er... not likely. And don't expect Barack Obama to look to withhold any budget money from OCHA either.

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