Viral Posts Falsely Claim Danish Siddiqui Sold Cremation Images For Profit

The Reuters photojournalist took photos of cremation rights as a part of covering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in India and did not sell them for profit.

In the aftermath of the death of photojournalist Danish Siddiqui, social media users are falsely claiming that Siddiqui sold images of mass funerals of COVID-19 victims to foreign media outlets for profit. Siddiqui, who was a photojournalist with Reuters took photos as part of covering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in India, did not sell photos for profit.

Siddiqui was killed on July 16 in Afghanistan while on assignment to cover the ongoing clash between Afghan forces and the Taliban near a key border crossing in Spin Boldak.

Users are sharing photos of funeral pyres taken by Siddiqui and other photojournalists as well as a screenshot from Getty Images to claim that Hindu cremations were being taken advantage of by photojournalists like Siddiqui to make profit.

Archive of the tweet can be accessed here.

Right-wing leaning author Shefali Vaidya also accused Siddiqui of selling pictures on funeral pyres. Vaidya has often made communally charged statements and spread misinformation on Twitter.

Archive of the tweet can be accessed here.

Archive of the tweet can be accessed here.


An archive of the tweet can be accessed here. (TRIGGER WARNING: The archived tweet features a photo of Siddiqui's dead body)


An archive of the tweet can be accessed here. (TRIGGER WARNING: The archived tweet features a photo of Siddiqui's dead body)

The same accusations were made against photojournalists in April and May 2021 when India battled against the peak of the second wave.

Archive of the tweet can be accessed here.

'Selling for profit'

Photo agencies like Getty, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, Associated Press and Press Trust of India have photojournalists on their payrolls on a fixed salary. Like any other media or creative agency, the commercial rights of content created or published by employees are owned by the agency while the employees most often hold the creative rights.

These agencies allow users to buy photographs at a fixed price irrespective of the recency or the importance of the news event. Apart from buying photos as a one-time buy, agencies also have subscription rates which allow media organisations to use the images for a fixed price on a monthly or annual basis.

Photojournalists have no say in fixing the price of photographs.

Siddiqui was employed with Reuters. On his personal website, Siddiqui makes it clear that the rights to the images belong to himself and Reuters.

Apart from salaried employees, agencies also tie up with independent photojournalists and smaller news agencies to get images.

While independent photojournalists may get a part of the sales, salaried photojournalists do not get a share of the profits.

'Photos Sold For Rs 23,000'

In many countries and regions, photo agencies tie up with local media organisations to share resources for news events. This set up is called a press pool. All media organisations which are part of a particular press pool can use and share images of a given event even if they have not clicked the images.

In India, Getty images has deals with Hindustan Times, AFP and NurPhoto to share images while also providing a platform to independent photographers.

Reuters does not have a photo-sharing deal with Getty Images. Moreover, being a Reuters employee, Siddiqui was contractually obliged not to click or sell images to other agencies or media organisations.

The screenshot of the Getty Images website does not feature images clicked by Siddiqui. The images were clicked by AFP staff photojournalist Money Sharma.

In April 2021, Siddiqui's photo story on mass cremations in New Delhi went viral. Siddiqui used drone cameras to capture the impact of the pandemic as cremation pyres dotted cemeteries in Delhi.

Siddiqui's photo was used by international publications like Al Jazeera, The Times and Sky News.


Updated On: 2021-07-16T22:05:34+05:30
Claim Review :   Indian photojournalists like Danish Siddiqui sold photos of Hindu cremations for profit.
Claimed By :  Social Media posts
Fact Check :  False
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