From the Indonesian plane: photo of child tied up in life jacket by mother is an old story

  • 2021-01-26
  • 12

Akeed – Majdi Qsous

A local media outlet published a photo of a child who allegedly had been found floating in the water by rescue teams three days after the crash of Indonesia Sriwijaya Air’s Boeing 737, with his mother having tied him up in a lifejacket. The story was shared widely by social media users.

What is true here?

Akeed monitored the image after it was posted to the media outlet’s Facebook page and drew a significant response from users. Thorough research to verify the photo using digital search tools found that it dates back to 2018, when Indonesian websites and media outlets published the image claiming that it depicted a child who had survived an Indonesian plane crash that year. In fact, this claim was also false. 

Akeed learned that the photo is actually of a baby who survived the sinking of the KM Lestary Maju ferry off the Indonesian island of Selayar on July 3, 2018. This was confirmed by the spokesperson for the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, in a post on his Twitter account.

In publishing old content as though it were new—to say nothing of the fact that it was false in the first place—media outlets and social media accounts have committed a clear professional violation. It is one which contravenes the principles of objectivity, accuracy, and professionalism that are demanded of the media.

In this respect, Akeed reiterates the need to verify images and the information that accompanies them. No photo being circulated should be accepted before having been viewed on more than one trustworthy website. Applications like Google image and TinEye should also be used, as they can help identify photos that have been falsified.