This picture of a UN peacekeeper was staged for a South African newspaper’s ad campaign

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

A picture of a UN peacekeeper standing next to a sign and inadvertently creating the words “Uninvolved in Peace” has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Reddit. The photo has circulated online for years, recently appearing in posts from Singapore and Myanmar. But the claim is misleading: the picture was staged as part of an ad campaign for a South African newspaper in 2007. The photo in the misleading posts has also been edited, altering the words in the original advertising image, which read: “Uninvolved in Africa.”

A picture of what looks to be a UN peacekeeper was shared in May 2021 by a Singaporean Facebook page here.

The misleading post's caption says: “Largest most useless organisation in the world. UNinvolved in peace? Gaza, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Myanmar...” 

Screenshot of the misleading post, taken on June 12, 2021

The blue helmet is a signature of the UN peacekeepers. 

The picture has been shared over the years, with captions blaming the UN’s inactions or failures in various conflicts, for example on Facebook here, here and here; and on Instagram here, here and here; on Twitter here and here; and Reddit here

The claim, however, is misleading.

A reverse image search on TinEye, followed by a keyword search, found this picture, posted on the website Ads of the World on December 26, 2007.

The photo is credited to South African advertising agency FCB Cape Town and South African photographer Chad Henning

The genuine photo shows the word “Africa” on the sign, instead of “peace”, as seen in the photo in the misleading post. 

Henning, the Cape Town-based photographer, told AFP on June 10, 2021, that the picture was part of a series of advertising campaign for Die Burger, an Afrikaans-language newspaper based in Cape Town.

“The works won several awards for advertising,” Henning said. “The shots were set up and produced like a journalistic photo.”

He also emailed AFP the photos from the ad campaign, which can also be viewed on his website here.

Below is a screenshot of Henning’s website:

Screenshot of Henning’s website, taken on June 11, 2021

Below is a screenshot comparison of picture from the misleading post (L) and the genuine photo (R):

Screenshot comparison of picture from the misleading post (L) and the genuine photo (R)

Die Burger’s ad campaign won multiple awards, as reported here in 2008 and here in 2007.