MARCH 27, 2003

On May 27, 2012, BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), published this photo, credited as a “Photo from Activist,” on their online news site with an article titled “Syria massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows.” The photo caption read: “This image - which cannot be independently verified - is believed to show the bodies of children in Houla [Syria] awaiting burial.”

This photo was taken ten years earlier in Iraq by Getty photographer Marco Di Lauro. In the photo, an Iraqi child jumps over a line of hundreds of bodies, all killed during the Saddam regime. The photo can be readily found on the Getty Images website.

Di Lauro shared BBC’s mistake on his website, writing that “somebody is using my images as a propaganda against the Syrian government to prove the massacre.” 

BBC quickly removed the image and apologized for their mistake:  “BBC News has a strong track record of using content from non-traditional sources, and of stopping numerous examples of incorrect material making it to air or online - but it does underline the need to handle such material with great care.” 

“I was surprised to see my image, which was captured in Iraq in 2003, used by the BBC in their recent article around the Syria massacre in Houla. It was reported that the image was captured and sent in by an activist; however this is not the case. I took the image in 2003, when working on a story titled Iraq, the Aftermath of Saddam, which can be viewed on my website"
- Marco di Lauro

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Image copyright Marco Di Lauro