Following the militant herdsmen attack that claimed the lives of at least 70 people in Benue state on New Year’s Day, several images and videos have been shared reportedly showing the horrors of the continuing conflict.
On 17 March, a two-year-old news platform reportedly posted news of suspected herdsmen killing several people, including a pregnant woman, in a series of attacks in the northeast state of Taraba.
However, the image the news platform used in the report quickly raised questions. It showed people attacking a group of fleeing men in front of what seemed like a warehouse.
The news site reportedly used the same picture again three days later to illustrate a story that residents of Kogi state were being targeted for extermination by herdsmen.
The question is: Where is this picture from?
NAIJ.com presents the fact as checked by Africa Check, an independent fact-checking organisation.
According to Africa Check, the first clue is the logo in the background.
The background is reported to be that of the French telecommunications firm Orange, which is reportedly not licensed to operate in Nigeria.
Next, Africa Check said it conducted a reverse image search using TinEye and established that the picture was taken by French photojournalist Pierre Terdjman.
Terdjman reportedly documented the violence in 2013 and 2014 in the Central African Republic during former rebel leader Michel Djotodia’s short-lived stint in power.
The image was captioned by the French public radio service RFI as “Looting of a Muslim shop by Christians”.
More so, Africa Check stated that a Google reverse image search shows that even reputable Nigerian news organisations have used the picture as a catch-all illustration for various conflicts.
Using such a graphic picture as a stock image for news reports could further inflame tensions and disrespects readers and photojournalists, Africa Check explained.
NAIJ.com previously reported that Pope Francis denounced ‘fake news’ as evil and urged journalists to make it their mission to search for the truth.
The pope said the first case of fake news is in the Bible when Eve was tempted to eat the forbidden fruit based on disinformation from the serpent.
Comparing fake news to the serpent’s message of temptation in the Bible, Pope Francis said: “We need to unmask what could be called the ‘snake tactics’ used by those who disguise themselves in order to strike at any time and place.”
Nigerian herdsmen vs Nigerian farmers – on NAIJ.com TV