Spreading misinformation through photography is almost as old as the medium itself, and there are many historic examples of images being staged or altered as political propaganda or otherwise. The digital age, however, has seen the practice reach new heights, with image editing and 'deepfake' technology becoming increasingly widespread and sophisticated.
Today, through the internet, false or misleading information can be spread globally within seconds. Images can be digitally altered or used out of context to support a political narrative. At its worst, fake news can be used to sway elections, divide society and attempt to alter historical facts. But how serious a problem is misinformation in photojournalism today, and what safeguards can be put in place to stop it?
We invited three influential industry professionals to share their views: South Africa-based news photographer and Canon Ambassador Gulshan Khan, winner of the 2020 HIPA Emerging Photographer award; Thomas Borberg, photo editor-in-chief at Danish daily newspaper Politiken and jury member for several major photography competitions; and Irish/Canadian photojournalist Finbarr O'Reilly, also a Canon Ambassador and a regular contributor to The New York Times, as well as a two-time World Press Photo winner.
Here Gulshan, Thomas and Finbarr offer their insights into this increasingly important topic.