Picture of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi using camera was doctored to add lens cap

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

A picture has been shared hundreds of times in social media posts in India that mock Prime Minister Narendra Modi for appearing to use a camera without removing its lens cap. The picture, however, was doctored. The original photo shows there was no lens cap on Modi's camera.

The picture was shared more than 720 times after being posted on Twitter here on September 17, 2022.

It purportedly shows Modi looking through the viewfinder of a camera that has its lens covered with a lens cap.

"Who takes a picture without removing the lens cap... but it's possible with Modi," the Hindi-language tweet reads.

Screenshot of the misleading tweet, captured on September 18, 2022

The same image was also shared elsewhere on Twitter here; and on Facebook here and here.

A Twitter account affiliated with the opposition Indian National Congress party also retweeted the picture here, with the caption: "Photography without removing the lens cap... Who does it like this!"

Other comments suggested some users also believed the picture was genuine.

"It is a shameful situation that the prime minister of a country can fall to such levels," read one comment.

Another read: "Respected prime minister, at least remove the lens cap."

The picture, however, was doctored.

Kuno National Park visit

A closer inspection of the picture found that the brand "Nikon" is displayed backwards at the top of the camera, while the brand "Canon" is displayed the right way round on the lens cap.

A keyword search found the same photo, flipped horizontally, on the Twitter account of the Gujarat branch of Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The tweet said the picture was taken when Modi visited the Kuno National Park, a wildlife sanctuary 320 kilometres (200 miles) south of the capital New Delhi.

In the photo, which appears to be a mirror image of the picture misleadingly shared on social media, Modi's camera does not have a lens cap.

Below is a comparison between the picture shared in the misleading posts (left) and the photo shared on the Gujarat BJP's Twitter account (right):

A comparison between the picture shared in the misleading posts (left) and the photo shared on the Gujarat BJP's Twitter account (right)

AFP reported that Modi visited the national park to preside over the release of eight Namibian cheetahs.

The spotted big cats, which were declared extinct in India in 1952, were brought back to the country as part of an effort to reintroduce them to the country.

English-language news website Firstpost also used a cropped version of the picture on the Gujarat BJP's Twitter account in its report of Modi's visit to the park.

Modi's official Facebook and Twitter accounts published videos and photos on September 17, 2022 of his visit to the national park.

Modi can be seen wearing the same clothes and holding the same camera as shown in the altered picture shared on social media.

AFP has previously debunked other misleading claims about Modi here and here.