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article imageThe BBC published photo of Iraqi dead when reporting on Houla

By Anne Sewell     May 28, 2012 in World
The recent tragedy in Houla, Syria was horrendous and the BBC published a photo of rows of dead people when reporting the tragedy. One problem, the photo was of Iraqi dead, taken in 2003.
The bloodshed in Houla left at least 90 people dead, including 32 children. A horrific and terrible tragedy.
The BBC was reporting on the incident and posted a photo of "rows of childrens' bodies awaiting burial."
Then the original photographer, Marco di Lauro, saw the image on the BBC and says he nearly "fell off his chair".
The image was captioned, “Photo from Activist. This image – which cannot be independently verified – is believed to show bodies of children in Houla awaiting funeral.”
The photograph, which can be viewed above, was taken by di Lauro in post-Saddam Iraq on March 27, 2003. It depicts an Iraqi boy, jumping over dozens of white body bags, which contained skeletons found in a desert south of Baghdad.
Marco di Lauro published the image on his website as part of his story "Iraq, the Aftermath of Saddam".
Marco di Lauro is a photographer for Getty Images picture agency and his works have been published across the U.S. and Europe. However, di Lauro thinks that the BBC got his image from the Internet and not from official stock, which worries him.
He told the Daily Telegraph, “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 that, “Someone is using someone else’s picture for propaganda on purpose.”
According to a BBC spokesman the photo, which illustrated Sunday night's story "Syria Massacre in Houla Condemned as Outrage Grows," was immediately taken down when the source was identified.
He added, “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.”
More about BBC, Syria, houla, Iraq, Dead
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