BBC Bangla uses misplaced inciteful photos on facebook post; massive criticism on social media

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In a move that brings into question the editorial standards followed by the the reputed BBC world Service, BBC Bangla service was found using potentially inciting and misplaced images to go along with one of its posts on its official facebook page.

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The news item in question is a piece on the arrest of alleged Shibir activists in Sitakund, Chittagong by police along with petrol bombs and arms. The post on the news website quotes police official AKM Hafiz Akhtar as it mentions the arrest of alleged opposition-affiliated Shibir youth along with 69 petrol bombs and 50 hand bombs, guns and ammunition.

The facebook post, however, showcases a picture which was found to be from an earlier incident back in 2014, where Rapid Action Battalion forces found a secret stash of weapons believed to belong to Indian rebels in Moulvibazar.

Social media users have called the image inciteful in its own right since it provided a false image of events by showcasing a huge stash of weapons and an RPG, therefore linking the news with the notion of extreme militant violence. Such a move not only has the potential to provoke shock reactions from viewers and incite misplaced emotions, but has also been deemed misleading.

This is not the first time BBC Bangla has used this same image out of context; it has also being used in a previous post, although with a disclaimer of “stock photo”.

The post has not only generated negative reaction from readers, but has been criticized widely on social media for false portrayal of events and incitement of hatred. Similar allegations had been raised against the media outlet in the past, such as regarding its report on the whereabouts of abducted International Crimes Tribunal witness, Shukhoranjan Bali, back in 2013 and in controversies surrounding using images from Gaza in the recent Peshawar attack.