Wrong sequence of photos used to spread fake news of Malaysian PM Mahathir

Two photos have gone viral of Prime Minister Mahathir during prayers at Masjid Negara. A sequence of photos has been used to depict that the Prime Minister fell during his prayer. The message which has spread widely on WhatsApp and Facebook indicate that he had tripped in the mosque as he was "stressed out over various reasons". The photos show that Dr Mahathir is standing while an unidentified man holds his arm, followed by another photo of him bent over on the floor, supporting himself with his hands. The fact was that these photos were in fact showcased in the reverse order. The original sequence of photos shows Dr Mahathir getting up after performing prayers with some assistance.

However, a close aide to Dr Mahathir discredited this message as "propaganda". The photos originally were taken by blogger and photographer, Minaq Jinggo. Mr Jinggo expressed to The Star that, "The photos were meant to tell the world that PM7 (the seventh prime minister, Dr Mahathir) is able to lift himself up without assistance. He is still very fit to do so even with little rest after the trip to China".

Assessment

Our assessment is that, in this day and age of new technology, a simple change in the order of events can be used as a strategic tool to bring chaos. Though Prime Minister Mahathir is 93, he was able to make a 3-day visit to China and continue his day-to-day ministerial duties. His health certainly does not come in the way of his vision to run the country. We believe that it is imperative to take stringent actions against those spreading such fake news. We believe it’s important for Minaq Jinggo , the photographer, to immediately tweet the counter-narrative and deter the spread of disinformation. He is the source and he has to clarify.