Featured image via: Khaled Zaki
About a week ago, a story from Thailand rocked the whole world. A team of children footballers, along with their coach, journeyed on a trip to do some caving, and all was going well. That was until an event happened that would change their lives forever. Long story short, nature had its way and those kids were trapped inside a cave in Thailand, unable to get out, for 9 days before being found.
These brave kids stayed strong until they were saved, thanks to efforts from people around the globe with ideas, money, supplies, and even real-life heroes risking their lives to save those of others. Through international support, these kids were finally saved a few days ago, and Thailand announced that the mission was 100% successful, and each and every person is now safe.
Just as is the case with any big story, media outlets pounce to get a cool headline or a trending story. Sometimes the drive is too strong, the opportunity is too good, and the truth is not enough; this is where the fine line between journalism and fiction gets even thinner.
Khaled Zaki, an Egyptian diver, has been the victim of that fine line as his image was circulated around social media and other media outlets claiming him to be one of the many brave divers who participated in the rescue mission. Let us make one thing clear first, Khaled Zaki never claimed to be a part of the team; what actually happened was that the Egyptian diver was simply in Thailand during these events. As such, he used his Facebook profile to post a few videos updating people on the events.
After the rumours spread, Zaki posted on his account, “Dear friends, thank you very much for your kindness and support, but I cannot claim an honour I do not deserve. I don’t deserve any kind of recognition, and the real heroes are the ones who put in real efforts, time, and courage during the whole operation. I was only following news closely, like many other people. I feel so privileged and honoured to be a member of a diving community that shows real human qualities when it is necessary, but we should all owe the gratitude to its well-deserved heroes who really put their lives in danger.” He said so to debunk all the rumours the media outlets spread about his story, and also denounced those claims in frustration saying, “Just watched the news, and I can’t believe the amount of exaggeration and false info the media is broadcasting about me. It is extremely far from the truth.”
Stories like these show us how much of an effect media outlets can have on people’s opinions. Posting a picture of a person with a caption recounting a heroic story is easy, but finding real stories of heroism is difficult. Stay savvy Cairenes, and don’t believe everything you read.