Cyclone Fani hit the eastern coast of India and coastal region of Bangladesh during the last week, causing large scale damage. In India, Odisha was the most affected area in this cyclone which the strongest tropical storm in the last 20 years. Although the death toll was low as a large number of people were moved to safer places in advance by authorities, the cyclone destroyed infrastructure and properties in the affected regions.
Photographs from the affected areas are flooding the news media and social media. In this age of camera phones, there is no shortage of photographs of such natural disasters like this. In such a scenario, it’s a surprise India’s leading media house chose to use the photograph of an earlier cyclone as that from Cyclone Fani hit Odisha.
Today the Times of India published a report titled ‘How Isro satellites tracked Fani, saved many lives’, to talk about how the ISRO satellites helped the IMD scientists to accurately predict the path and intensity of the cyclone in advance, which helped in preparing the relocation and evacuation plans. In the report, they used the photograph of Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneshwar, which is devasted by the cyclone. In the caption, they credited ANI for the photo.
But it has turned out that neither the photograph is of Bhubaneshwar airport, nor it is from cyclone Fani. A simple image search shows that the photograph belongs to the Visakhapatnam airport, and the photograph was taken in 2014, after cyclone Hudhud had made landfall in Andhra Pradesh.
India Today had published the photo on October 13, 2014 crediting PTI, while Indian Express had also included the photo in a photo gallery on cyclone Hudhud published on 14th October 2014, and credited PTI. In fact, even the Times Group publication Economics Times also had published the same photo in October 2014, but still, Times of India used that photo as an image of Bhubaneshwar airport hit by Cyclone Fani this week.