Media Reposting of Old Photos and Videos - Ethical & Professional Violation

Akeed – Tamara Ma’abreh

Local media reposted 12 old photos and video clips to report on recent news between August 1st and September 22nd, Jordan Media Monitor, Akeed, said in a report.

Following is a list of old photos and video clips that were reposted by mainstream media detected by Akeed during the period:






A video showing buses imported for the operation of the Bus Rapid Transit in the Port of Aqaba

Akeed also detected old photos and videos that went viral again on social media platforms: These include:

An old video showing a car running over someone and a shooting incident in Quweismeh

A video clip of a group of people at SOFEX Exhibition that was taken two years ago, and later shared purportedly of security officers inviting a lady to check security vehicles.

A photo of Prime Minister Omar Razzaz checking on Tawjihi examination halls two years ago - when he served as Education minister. The photo was reposted during the teachers’ strike to show that schools were empty of students.

Dr. Sakhr Khasawneh, who teaches media legislation and ethics explained to Akeed that photos should tell a story, noting that a single image can be a whole story in itself. Thus, when irrelevant photos are used, such as archive photos, the ethical thing to do would be to inform the audience in writing about that, advises the academic. Even the dates of older photos and videos that were used in similar stories - should be mentioned, he adds.

Otherwise, the practices mentioned above represent ethical violations; as they could lead to exaggerating the news or misleading public opinion. These could even represent violations that are punishable by law including invasion of privacy or preventing the course of justice in case of crimes, or copyright infringement.

Akeed notes that older photos and videos can be used in some cases, subject to certain conditions. First, the photo caption should state that the photo is old. Second, only photos of public figures may be used; photos of people should not be used given that they are considered part of their private life and must not be used without consent. Artistic images and other images are also protected under the copyright law and may not be used without permission.

Akeed advises all users to verify all photos and video clips before sharing them, and to assess the importance of the topic to the public. Reposting old material to report on recent events for the purpose of steering public opinion in a particular direction would only mislead readers and could harm public interest, notes Akeed.