Overworked or lazy? While glorifying achievements or talking about disasters, fake pictures which are not remotely representative of an event have been repeatedly used to portray events. From media outlets to political parties, everybody is guilty of doing so at some point in time. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that a PTI photographer used a picture of a flooded Chennai Airport from 2015 to depict a flooded Ahmedabad airport. The PTI image was splashed across the front page of Indian Express and tweeted by others like India Today, Hindu, Indiatimes etc and became a cause of much embarrassment for the largest news agency of India.


Folks on social media discovered that the images were of Chennai airport flooding and not Ahmedabad and there was a huge amount of outrage following that. Smriti Irani tweeted about it alerting Twitter users and news establishments. She also suggested to PTI News to get an explanation as to how this happened.

PTI in turn regretted the error and tweeted that they had terminated the services of the concerned photographer

Using fake images has become an epidemic on social media. It is good to see that the problem has been recognised and the use of a misleading image from Chennai to show Gujarat floods has got the attention it deserved, not just in social media but also from PTI and a Union Minister.

Alt News would like to bring some other instances of fake images to the attention of the honourable Minister requesting for her intervention so that action can be taken against the propagators of the following fake images.

1. Alt News exposed how a picture of lights along the Spain Morocco border passed off as floodlights along the India-Pakistan border in the Annual report of Ministry of Home Affairs. The blooper got a fair amount of publicity in the media and the MHA even announced an investigation to find out how it happened. Nothing further was heard about the progress of the investigation.

Spanish Morocco border picture in Annual Report

2. A picture of Motorway A2 of Poland was used in a poster by the official Twitter account of BJP to show the reform measures under Modi government in the area of road projects.


3. Akhilesh Mishra, a former director of MyGov under Modi Government once tweeted a picture of Guangzhou, China, claiming it is Ahmedabad Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS). “Contrast this with the mess in Delhi,” he tweeted.


4. BJP ruled South Delhi Municipal corporation was once submitted a photoshopped image to a court of law. “A Delhi High Court bench spotted doctored photographs of roads and pavements in Dwarka wiped digitally clean by the agencies to claim they had acted upon complaints by residents about poor civic facilities.”

5. Press Information Bureau, the nodal agency for communicating to media on behalf of the government had tweeted a photoshopped picture to show Prime Minister Modi doing an aerial survey of the Chennai floods. The image became the butt of many jokes on social media mocking PIB but it is not known if any action was taken against those responsible for it.

6. A few months ago, the official Twitter account of BJP Delhi passed off the photo of a Canadian street to show replacement of street lights by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation.


The above is just a selection from the long list of instances where fake, misleading or photoshopped images have been used by official handles of the government or the ruling party. It is only fair that those responsible for circulating fake images from official handles are held accountable for their actions. In addition to this, there are numerous instances where fake images and videos have been circulated in social media with an objective of polarising communities and inciting violence. This is an epidemic that needs urgent attention.