English, Fact Check

These photos of a crying photographer are old and unrelated to the Ram Mandir inauguration.


A collage of photos featuring the Lord Ram idol, which was recently consecrated at the Ayodhya Ram Mandir and a photographer allegedly crying at the idol’s sight, is doing the rounds on social media. ‘…Even the cameraman couldn’t stop his emotions..’ reads the description of a Facebook post that shares this video. Let’s verify the authenticity of this claim through this article.

Claim: The viral photos show a photographer who got emotional and cried at the sight of Lord Ram’s idol during the consecration at the Ayodhya Ram Mandir.

Fact: These photos are from 2019 and have nothing to do with the inauguration of Ram Mandir or India. This incident took place during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Football competition. During a match between Qatar and Iraq, an Iraqi photographer became emotional as Iraq lost the game, which led to them getting knocked out of the competition. Hence, the claim made in the post is False

To check the veracity of the viral claim, we performed a reverse image search on the internet using the three different images of the photographer from the viral collage. This search led us to a 2019 tweet that featured one of these images. This tweet was posted on the official handle of the AFC Asian Cup on 24 January 2019, which described this as a passionate and emotional moment for an Iraqi photographer during a round-of-16 clash against Qatar.

A further search led us to a few ‘X’ posts (here and here) from 2019 that contained all the viral images.

According to news reports (here and here) from January 2019, Muhammad Amer Al-Azzawi, the photographer seen in the viral images, became emotional during an AFC Asian Cup match between his home country’s team, Iraq and Qatar, as his team lost to the latter, which knocked them out of the competition.

Egyptian news website ‘Masrawy’ interviewed Muhammad after this incident, and he said, “In those moments, I remembered my days in the streets of Baghdad, and the streets of Iraq in general. Everyone was in the stadium wishing to return happily, but this did not happen, unfortunately.”

In the past, when the same set of photographs went viral relating them to contexts completely unrelated to this football match, Factly debunked them and published detailed fact-check articles, which you can read here, here, and here.

To sum up, the viral photos of a photographer crying are old and unrelated to the inauguration of Ram Mandir. 


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