Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Azerbaijan media uses Georgian, Serbian and U.S. props to illustrate Karabakh reports

This image from 2008 war in South Ossetia is frequently used by Azerbaijani
news sites to illustrate reports from Karabakh. From google image search.
With low-intensity shooting incidents continuing between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in Karabakh and elsewhere along the Line of Contact, local media reports tend to highlight occasional casualties and officially-issued statistics.

To anchor these often repetitive reports on the news sites, media on both sides rely on stock conflict images. Lack of familiarity with media rules and military matters and general laziness result in frequent confusion as far as the origin of images used. Frequently, images are copy-pasted from other sites, with no regard for copyright.

This is particularly pronounced in Azerbaijan, where media is legally prohibited from reporting on military matters without official sanction, reporters rarely get official access to the armed forces and those traveling in frontline areas are likely to be stopped and sometimes even beaten.

One of the common forms of conflict reporting in Azerbaijan is laudatory short stories about Armenian casualties - real and imagined - accompanied by stock photos of bodies in uniform, typically unrelated to the Karabakh conflict.

Thus one of the popular images used is by Brennan Linsley of AP Photo dated July 6, 2009 and described as "a U.S. Marine from the 2nd MEB, 1st Battalion 5th Marines, who was overcome by heat exhaustion, lies on a stretcher.. in the Nawa district of Afghanistan'".  Linsley's photo found second life accompanying Azerbaijani reports of Armenian casualties, including on main regime-run sites, such as 1news.az and vzglyad.az.

Another image used is by Dmitry Kostyukov for AFP / Getty taken on August 10, 2008 and described as a body of a Georgian soldier on the outskirts of Tskhinvali during the war with Russia over South Ossetia. Kostyukov's photo can be seen in the Boston Globe's August 11, 2008 report about the war. The image - seen above in a Google search - has been used repeatedly by some of the most popular Azerbaijani news sites.

Finally, another recurring favorite (seen below in regular and enhanced versions) is an older image from Serbian-Croatian fighting in Bosnia taken on August 18, 1995 by Tom Dubravec of AFP/Getty and is no. 27 at this link.

In another example of this sort of careless copy-pasting, photo of a soldier wearing an Armenian camouflage pattern was used as a stand-in for an Azerbaijani soldier in a military education text book for high schools. Image grab below is from a social media site of an Azerbaijani journalist who noticed the text book gaffe.

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