The Philippine Daily Inquirer earned the ire of the netizens for mistakenly sharing old photos while claiming that those were photos taken in Marawi City during the clash between the government forces and the members of the Maute group.
Facebook user Lenian Gaspar was among the first ones who condemned Inquirer for posting photos that were first taken in 2013 to show the Marawi situation since the clash.
Gaspar asked Inquirer why there were using photos from a bombing incident in Cotabato City in 2013 and included links to a cached version of Inquirer’s erroneous post and two articles in 2013 showing the 2013 photos.
This is what Inquirer posted on May 24 at around 11am. You can find the link of the cached version here.
One of Gaspar’s links led to manilaspeak.com, which shows a photo of a wrecked car after a bomb exploded in a busy street in Cotabato.
Another one led to a forum site, which showed an ABS-CBN News report about the same bombing incident.
Gaspar’s post has gone viral, earning over 18,000 shares, as of writing
Facebook user Mike Acebedo Lopez, whose post also went viral, gaining over 15,500 shares, also condemned the Inquirer for their error.
“INQUIRER.net, you lying sons of bitches. Stop lying to the nation. How many times will you foment the spread of fake news? You better close shop!” Lopez said.
“Now you’re using photos from the 2013 Cotabato City bombing when your favorite Noynoy Aquino was still president and dare pass them off as photos from Marawi at present?” he added.
Lopez then asked if Inquirere is “desperately” trying to sow fear by using the wrong photos.
“Are you so desperate to sow fear, to create an impression of chaos if only to help depose Duterte that you would go this low? And you think people won’t ever find out? Brazen but bobo!” he wrote.
“You’re garbage that loves to recycle!” he added.
Lopez provided a link to Inquirer’s own August 2013 article, “Drugs eyed, 3 arrested in Cotabato bombing,” about the same incident, which showed a similar wrecked car after the bombing.
For their part, Inquirer has issued an apology for using the erroneous photos.
“At around 11 am today, May 24, the Inquirer posted on its Facebook page five photos purportedly taken in the aftermath of the Marawi City siege. The photos came from a reliable source, a government official in the city, who sought to express the trauma the people of Marawi were experiencing. Before we could complete the verification process (including having another reporter call the source and doing a reverse-image search), we posted all five photos,” the Inquirer wrote on its official Facebook page.
“That was a mistake, and we apologize unreservedly. Two of the photos were taken down around noon, when we double-checked with the source, and the rest were removed around 1 pm, when even the source’s assurances could no longer be supported. We regret not moving fast enough to correct the mistake,” they added.
The Inquirer also expressed regret about how this mistake might cause doubts over the Inquirer’s coverage of the Marawi clash and President Duterte’s declaration of martial law and promised to review their processes and sanctions to prevent the same mistake from happening again.
“We regret even more that this mistake cast a shadow over the reporting that the entire Inquirer Group put into the coverage of both the siege and the subsequent declaration of martial law. Those print, online, social, and radio stories were the best obtainable version of the truth at the time we reported them.”
“Moving forward, we will review our procedures and impose the necessary sanctions to make sure that this mistake will not happen again, even as we remain committed to cover the developing story as best we can,” the Inquirer wrote.
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