In its July 28 edition, the Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung – which is read by about three million people every day – published a photo of a woman and a man with a baby in his arms, walking in a bombed-out street. The legend read: “A city in ruins, which its inhabitants are fleeing – this is daily life in Aleppo.” But as Internet users soon pointed out, this image was digitally altered.
The original photo of the couple was taken by a photographer with the European Pressphoto Agency. Though the photo was indeed taken in Aleppo, the couple was walking in an apparently calm street. According to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the background photo was taken by a Reuters photographer in the central Syrian city of Homs, not in Aleppo.
The editor-in-chief of Kronen Zeitung defended his publication of this mash-up by explaining that the copyright information for both of the original photos was noted under the image. However, he recognised that they “did not note that this was a photomontage” and apologised for forgetting to do this.
Many Internet commentators, however, did not believe that the newspaper accidentally forgot to point this out, and felt manipulated. This incident also led many pro-Syrian-government websites to accuse the Western media of spreading propaganda against the Syrian regime.