Today is #AntiSlaveryDay as I saw on Twitter today, and at first I didn’t really have much to say about this. I agree, slavery in the modern world is still a big problem when it really shouldn’t be. Not enough is being done to stop it, and not enough people are aware of it happening. Meaning they probably over look the symptoms of it, allowing it to go unnoticed even longer.
But this post isn’t about the hashtag itself, its about how its being presented to us. Specifically, by The Times. Clicking around Twitter and onto the Moments page, today I was greeted with this image:
Being a smoker, the first thing I noticed was the obvious cannabis plants in the foreground. Followed by the words “Mutilated Teenage Slave” – which got my alerts going. Was this teenager being forced to work on this cannabis farm? I clicked the link to find out more.
The article describes a teenager whose finger was cut off and had disappeared. It was really short, no substance and no information as to whether or not the cannabis farm picture was relevant. The article is dated 2016 and I noticed the above, the source of who snapped the photo. A stock photo company called Alamy. So I continued my investigation, doing a reverse image search on the stock photo to find out some more information on it. Low and behold, I found some more information on it. Here’s the link where you can buy this image for personal or business use.
The image, dated 2007, 9 years before The Times article was posted. Seems to have literally no place in the story, just that The Times had a stock photo and shoved it in there. The Times are either not paying enough care to think of the implications, or knowing full well what the implications are. The implications being that teenage slaves are being used on cannabis farms in the UK – as the image shows quite blatantly, with UK police in the background.
Isn’t this just absurd from one of the biggest sources of news in our country? For them to either miss or purposely do something like this to tarnish the cannabis community even further? Thousands and thousands of people are looking at Twitter moments today, seeing a cannabis plant, UK police and a headline about mutilated teenage slaves. Of course they’re going to put those three ideas together, because they came from the same place – The Times’ article.
This is either irresponsible journalism, or out right manipulation of the audience. Both of which are bad, and you’d really expect a professional journalistic source like The Times, who have been kicking for decades, to really know better.
Please fact check things before you believe them, the media – myself included, will get things wrong and we absolutely need a vigilant audience to help keep us in line. Else we get complacent and post articles such as the above by The Times.