The fake pictures of the Rohingya crisis

The plight of Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar was thrust into the spotlight last month after thousands of migrants were left stranded at sea – but not all the images being shared online are what they seem to be.

The Rohingyas are a distinct Muslim ethnic group mainly living in Myanmar, also known as Burma. They are not recognised as citizens of Myanmar and face persecution in the majority Buddhist country, where many live in crowded camps. Powerful and seemingly genuine pictures and videos emerged of what Rohingyas must endure in Myanmar after thousands of migrants were left adrift with low supplies of food and water last month. But BBC Trending found some of the images being shared online don’t show Rohingyas at all – but instead come from other disasters and news events.

Many of these images are graphic and disturbing. One of the photos, for instance, that shows up in search results shows Buddhist monks standing among piles of body parts. On Facebook and Twitter, the photograph has been cited as an example of Buddhist violence against Rohingyas. But the picture is not from Burma at all – it was actually taken in the aftermath of an earthquake in China in April 2010.

Another picture shows a man on fire running across the road. One group that shared the photo on Facebook suggesting the man suffered horrific abuse – that he was chopped up and burnt alive. But the real story is much different. In fact, the photo is of Jamphel Yeshi, a Tibetan activist who set himself on fire in Delhi in 2012 to protest against the Chinese president’s visit to India.

There are many disturbing pictures of children circulating as well. One shows a boy tied to a wooden pole, with the marks of beatings visible across his back. While online posts call him a Rohingya boy, he’s actually a seven-year-old Thai child who was beaten up by a relative for stealing sweets earlier this year.

Then there’s this photo which has been widely shared, particularly in India and Pakistan, showing a motorcycle riding across the hands of school students who are lying on the ground with outstretched arms. The incident was actually a stunt by a martial arts trainer in south India:

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-32979147

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