“The photo being used with the Rimsha Masih campaign is fake and misleading”
August 25, 2012
CFD apologises for using a misleading photo with the visual earlier posted on this blog regarding the demonstration in Karachi on Aug 25. We realise that there is a need to be more thoughtful with the visuals we use with our campaigns. Please read the note below, sent to the petition owners of the Free Rimsha campaign, from a health professional in Lahore: “The photo being used with the Rimsha Masih campaign is fake and misleading. As a member of the healthcare professionals community, I can assure you the child in the photo clearly lacks any of the characteristic facial features of Down’s Syndrome, such as epicanthic folds and oblique eye fissures. Furthermore, a quick Google search reveals credible news sources such as Reuters and Firstpost.com are using a different photograph, of a child more likely to have Down’s Syndrome than the perfectly normal-looking child in your petition photo. It is unfortunate that this photogenic-but-normal child’s picture has also been snapped up to make press club banners and illustrate other articles without appropriate verification, almost unchanged and with the incorrect labeling still intact.
“Whether this was genuine oversight or a deliberate ploy to garner additional sympathy by presenting a more ‘publicly acceptable’ face, not only does it appear discriminatory towards people with Down’s Syndrome but it also detracts from the credibility (as well as sincerity) of the Rimsha Masih petition–and ultimately from her case. It is an ethical violation and not something to be taken lightly. Please limit the damage by immediately putting up a correct photograph or at least providing a verification/disclaimer in the text of your petition.”
— Fatima A. Athar.