The photo above was posted on the site “Beirut-ing,” a very popular local events site. The headline: “Snow in March” seemed to be an obvious reference to the very recent and late snowfall of last weekend, when some Lebanese slopes opened for the first time.

And as you can see “Beirut-ing” has watermarked the photo (above) on the bottom left corner, implying ownership over it. Here’s how the picture looked on the “Beirut-ing” page:

But nothing could be further from the truth. The picture above does not belong to “Beirut-ing” and was not even shot in Lebanon. It’s from the Sierra Nevada slopes in Spain:

Worse still, the photo was shot last year, May 2013, as seen in the header above. I found out about this thanks to the comments section on the Beirut-ing site:

But all this doesn’t seem to bother the Beirut-ing staff or management as the piece has been up for almost a week.

Plagiarism is a serious issue in Lebanon. I was always shocked to see it so frequently among my students when I taught at university. Sadly the practice is only reinforced when established and popular sites like Beirut-ing and other establishments (like the fake Lebanese Best Buy or 7 Eleven) set an example by seeing no problem at all with claiming someone else’s work as their own.

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Habib Battah
Habib Battah is an investigative journalist and founder of the news site beirutreport.com. Battah has covered Lebanon and the Middle East for over 15 years and teaches journalism and media studies at the American University of Beirut. He is a contributor to Monocle, The Guardian, BBC World, Al Jazeera and others, a former fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University and two-time recipient of the Samir Kassir Press Freedom Award. Battah's investigative work was recently recognized for outstanding local reporting by the Columbia University Oakes Award for Environmental Reporting. Battah earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.A. in Near East Studies and Journalism from New York University.

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