Erroneous news headlines mismatched with accompanying photos is nothing new.
It happens to newspapers throughout the world even to the best of them.
The wrong picture with the wrong headline are most often than newsworthy bloopers that readers laugh over.
But on some occasions the gaffe could be detrimental such as the one by China’s Xinhua in April 2017.
The Chinese news agency had mistakenly reported ‘North Korea Fires Projectile’ when in fact North Korea was displaying a new ballistic missile at a military parade for the first time. Xinhua quickly changed the headline thus averting what may be a military confrontation.
Closer to home local daily The Star is now in the hot seat over a major blunder.
In its 27 May 2017 edition the newspaper had featured a big picture of Muslim worshippers performing their tarawih prayers welcoming the month of Ramadan on the cover page.
Unfortunately the big headline had read ‘Malaysian terrorist leader.’
The photograph and headline were obviously unrelated but has led to much commotion.
The Home Ministry has issued The Star with a show-cause letter and this was then followed with Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar informing that the daily was being investigated for sedition. The Star has suspended two of its editors pending investigations.
The juxtaposition of the image and the headline is ironic in it of itself.
The headline was of course in relation to reports of Malaysians involved in the current militant insurgency in Mindanao.
The act of terrorism is synonymous with Islam. Yet the picture depicted Muslims peacefully carrying out their prayers. Both events are important and warranted front-page coverage. But just not the way it did over the weekend.
If one recalls the Nanyang Siang Pau political cartoon depicting both Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia and Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi as monkeys, The Star’s mistake pales in comparison.
Yes, The Star’s message is all too confusing, could lead to misunderstanding and prejudice towards Muslims.
Nanyang Siang Pau’s act was deliberate. The Star has acknowledge its poor judgement in the page layout and apologized over the matter. Let us move on and not dwell on the matter