Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj hasn’t allowed earthquake victims to stop him from posting propaganda to his followers.
Following the devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake and hundreds of aftershocks that have rocked Albania over the last few days, Veliaj took to Instagram to post images of Municipality employees in hi-viz vests working hard to help survivors.
A human chain of staff can be seen passing bags of supplies into the back of a van parked in the centre of Tirana, accompanied by the hashtags #TiranaSolidare and #AllForOne and dated as yesterday, 27 November. The problem is that this appears to be one image from a set that Veliaj already used on several prior occasions.
The same image that he claims was of his team working to help victims of the earthquake was used previously on 22 September after another large earthquake, but this time it was claimed it was for a “children’s activity”. Few days later, Veliaj claimed he had set a regional record in assessing earthquake damages, which our interviews with foreign experts seemed to contradict.
The image is identical yet has been used as propaganda and ‘evidence’ of the Municipality assisting with aid work on two occasions, two months apart.
A second image, posted after the earthquake of 26 November shows a close up of a man holding a bag of grain, again appearing to be from the same photoshoot as the other images.
It is however identical to an image posted on 4 June, when Veliaj claimed they were loading up supplies to help families impacted by the earthquake in Korce.
Apart from all being taken on the same day, looking identical, having the same lighting, and using the same people, these do not appear to be ‘action shots’. These images appear to have been posed and are being used on at least three separate occasions over five months to supposedly show the work that the Municipality is doing to help citizens.
The question is, why would they not take photos of actual workers doing actual work, rather that recycling stock images on social media.