When pictures of the female suicide bomber involved in the Paris attacks surfaced, they were splashed across a myriad of publications—the photo of her in a bathtub spawned the headline “Thug in a Tub” by the New York Post.
Unfortunately, it has recently been revealed that the sensationalized photo is not of female terrorist Hasna Ait Boulahcen, but instead of a Moroccan woman named Nabila Bakkatha, who has no affiliation with Ait Boulahcen or ISIS. Bakkatha told CNN that, “The photograph was taken by my friend, who sold it to a French journalist after the Paris attacks in revenge…My life changed drastically, I stopped going to work, and I cannot go out anymore as I live in continuous fear.”
Bakkatha states that her former friend was after revenge, which is why she sold her photo to a journalist. She also believes she bears little resemblance to Ait Boulahcen, yet that will certainly not stop potential danger from following her for the rest of her life.
The nature of this incident exemplifies one of the problems with modern media—there is a rush to spread information and be the first to break a story, which is why fact-checking often slips through the cracks. The sheer number of news organizations that exist adds to the problem; a story will get picked up by dozens of sites, quickly spreading the misinformation.
In this instance, it has led to a woman who now fears for her life on a daily basis due to both the treachery of a friend and media exploitation.
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