Disinformation: TV Formula Added Bruises to Lekso Lashkarava’s Photo through Photoshop
Verdict: FAKE NEWS
On 21 July 2021, various Facebook pages (link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4) published two photographs of Lekso Lashkarava, the late TV Pirveli cameraman. According to their claims, one of the published photographs, in particular, the one with a trace of blood on the right side of Mr Lashkarava’s face, was doctored by TV Formula which “added bruises” to Lekso Lashkarava’s face after he was beaten by violent mobs. These Facebook pages showed different pictures as proof where there is no trace of blood on the right side of Lekso Lashkarava’s face. Of note is that this disinformation was promoted in a coordinated manner by those Facebook pages which are usually involved in disseminating pro-government and opposition smearing content.
TV Formula falsified the photograph of the late cameraman Lashkarava through Photoshop graphic design software and added additional bruises to his face.
We present two photographs which were taken at the same time, although there is a clear trace of editing on the first one whilst the other one is not edited.
TV Formula Added Bruises to Lekso Lashkarava’s Photo through Photoshop
On 5 July 2021, in the process of providing coverage of rally against Tbilisi Pride, TV Pirveli journalist and cameraman, Aleksandre Lashkarava, was physically and verbally assaulted whilst performing his professional duties at the Shame Movement’s office. Lekso Lashkarava died on 11 July 2021 after which the Ministry of Internal Affairs launched an investigation. The 5 July events and Mr Lashkarava’s death sparked yet another political crisis in the country.
These photographs were taken shortly after the physical assault against Mr Lashkarava which is proven by the respective video recordings. Different videos which show that Mr Lashkarava is sitting on the floor after being with inflicted physical injuries and waiting for help, having a bottle of water and holding an item made of fabric.
FactCheck obtained a video recording which clearly shows that Lekso Lashkarava, sitting in the emergency vehicle, indeed had a trace of blood on the right side of his face.
The photographs which were uploaded on the TV Kavkasia Facebook page are dated 5 July 2021, 13:15 PM.
Of note is that TV Formula’s Facebook page published both pictures of Lekso Lashkarava – one with a trace of blood on his right cheek and another without the trace of blood which is yet another example of proof that TV Formula did not edit the photograph. If the TV station had wanted to manipulate the photograph, it would have been illogical to publish both of these photographs in a short period of time.
Of additional note is that the photo and the video materials, taken after Lekso Lashkarava’s beating, show both cases: the presence and the absence of traces of blood on his right cheek. Based on Mr Lashkarava’s interview, recorded in a few days after physical violence, we may say there are no visual injuries on the right side of his face. Therefore, this may indicate that the blood on Mr Lashkarava’s right cheek was from blood on the item of fabric or from his hand. However, claim that TV Formula “doctored” Lekso Lashkarava’s photograph and added bruises through Photoshop is a lie which is proven by available photo and video evidence.
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