In an environment where journalists are increasingly accused of spreading “fake news”, Vancouver reporter Lasia Kretzel from Rogers affiliate station NEWS 1130 was compelled to take action when she saw a prominent British politician tweet a doctored photo.
The original photo shows a woman with a sign that says her “door is open for refugees.” It was taken by Kretzel in Saskatoon three years ago.
The photo was then re-circulated with a false, more sexualized message photoshopped on top of the original one.
She saw the photo pop up at various publications and used in anti-immigration rhetoric, but she hoped it would fade away.
However, once Kretzel saw prominent British politician and broadcaster Nigel Farage tweet the edited photo to his 1.2 million followers, she knew something had to be done.
“There were thousands of people that saw that and hundreds that retweeted it, that liked it,” she said. “This a person of note, and someone who other people listen to, and that’s the hard part. That this is a person who people believe is credible,” said Kretzel.
“I realized this is somebody of importance spreading to many, many people something that I know, personally, to be false and have documented proof to prove that this is wrong.”
She adds this is particularly important as journalists continue to be accused of reporting fake news.
In an era of instant information sharing, it's important that we check the information we are spreading to make sure it'…
Kretzel said people with large followings such as Farage should be more careful about what they tweet and do their due diligence.
Farage has since deleted the tweet and issued a correction.
“It’s when they become a tool for misinformation from very notable people that I feel like us, as journalists, need to stand up and say ‘No this isn’t right, this is false information that it’s being spread,’” said Kretzel.