Busted: Philippine News Agency uses Vietnam war photo in Marawi news story, then removes photo

For the second time this month, the state-run news agency, Philippine News Agency (PNA), made the headlines for using a Vietnam war photo in its article about the conflict in Marawi City.
Manila Bulletin columnist Tonyo Cruz noticed the use of the photo in PNA’s article, “Urban warefare a challenge for soldiers in Marawi,” and its failure to credit it to Wikipedia.

Image credit: Screenshot taken by Tonyo Cruz

Cruz also showed a screenshot of the Wikipedia entry, “Search and destroy,” which contains the same photo that PNA used.

Image credit: Screenshot taken by Tonyo Cruz

One commenter said that basically anyone can access and edit a Wikipedia entry. Cruz replied to that comment saying, “This is not about Wikipedia. This is about PNA.”

“Only PNA editors can edit PNA stories and approve photos to be used, and to tell the source of the photos. A PNA editor has taken down the photo from the story, proof positive of its mistake,” Cruz added.


Rappler’s story about PNA’s mistake also showed that the picture came from Wikipedia Commons and was described as “Troops of “A” Company, 1st Air Cavalry Division, checking house during patrol.”


As of writing, PNA has already removed the photo from its Marawi-related story.

Earlier this month, PNA came under fire for publishing the May 15 fake story “95 nations in 3rd UPR convinced no EJKs in PHL,” which it later replaced with a new headline and a revised content without so much as an explanation of its mistake. The fake news was also shared by Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson and Social Welfare Assistant Secretary Lorraine Badoy.

For this second mistake, netizens are calling out PNA for spreading “fake news” in the comments section on Rappler’s Facebook post.


Some pointed out how ironic it is that PNA’s mistake came to light after Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella urged the media not to report fake, unsubstantiated fake news about the conflict in Marawi City.

Netizens could not help but compare people’s reactions to PNA’s blunder and to that of Inquirer’s after the latter also used 2013 photos to show Marawi’s current situation and apologized for it.

Sources: ( , , , )

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