Three Fairfax newspapers, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times, and The Age, published a front page photo today of a man they labelled as Numan Haider, the 18-year-old shot dead by counter terrorism police in suburban Melbourne on Tuesday evening.
Except it’s not a photo of Haider. Melbourne’s Herald Sun reports that the innocent man is now afraid to go out in public after being mislabelled a terrorist.
The company issued an online apology just after 1.30pm saying
The young man in a suit was not Mr Haider, and we unreservedly apologise to him for the error.
The young man has no connection whatsoever with any extremist or terrorist group and we deeply regret any such inference arising from the publication of the photograph. The picture has been withdrawn from circulation.
What that Fairfax apology doesn't say is that the image was ON THE FRONT PAGE OF ALL ITS PAPERS pic.twitter.com/F6j76pMLRj
— Drew Sheldrick (@drewsheldrick) September 25, 2014
It’s believed the image was sourced from Facebook.
Lightning then struck twice for Fairfax with its Facebook post of the apology mistakenly grabbing a photo of celebrity gardener Jamie Drurie and forcing smh.com.au to apologise for its apology.
A technical glitch with Facebook is linking this Jamie Durie picture with today's apology. We're investigating. pic.twitter.com/cVptSAJs3q
— smh.com.au (@smh) September 25, 2014
While Fairfax Media is trying to make amends, the mistake is still likely to prove costly, with one defamation expert telling Business Insider that the young man is likely to receive tens of thousands of dollars in compensation.
* Fairfax Media owns Allure Media, publisher of Business Insider Australia.
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