By: Anurag Baruah
February 9 2023
Though the photo is from a protest against the Adani group in Australia, it was taken in 2017 when locals were campaigning against a coal mine.
Gautam Adani, the billionaire founder of the Adani Group, recently grabbed headlines globally after the firm's shares plunged following the publication of a scathing report by a New York-based investor research firm. In its report published on January 24, Hindenburg Research accused the Adani group of "brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over decades." The short-seller also questioned the debt levels of several of the key listed firms in the Adani group. While the Adani group denied the allegations, share prices of Adani firms tanked last week, wiping out nearly half their value. As opposition parties cornered the Adani group over its alleged financial malpractices, a Reuters report claimed that the Indian market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) would start looking into possible irregularities in a sale share by one of the group's firms.
The publication of the report and its fallout has led to an uptick of posts on social media with claims and counter-claims involving Gautam Adani, the Adani Group, and Hindenburg Research. One such narrative doing the rounds involves a photo that claims to show a recent protest in Australia against the Adani. The photo shows a group of people sitting on a beach holding placards that spell out the words #STOPADANI. We came across multiple posts sharing the photo on Twitter with the caption, "Protests in Australia against Adani! It's spreading like wildfire! Only @RBI and @SEBI_India mutely following orders from their masters!" The users implied that the particular photo shows a recent protest in Australia against Adani.
On conducting a reverse image search, we found the same photo uploaded to Flickr on October 7, 2017. The photo was credited to Gillianne Tedder, and according to the description, the photo captured some 250 people gathered at Congo Beach in the Australian state of New South Wales, demanding that the federal government halt a proposed coal mine in North Queensland by the Adani group.
We also came across a news report by NDTV published on October 7, 2017, with the headline, "Thousands Protest Across Australia Against Giant Adani Coal Mine." The report stated that large protests were held across Australia on October 7 against the Adani Group's proposed Carmichael coal mine in North Queensland that would become the largest coal mine in the country. The report added that protests were organized across 45 locations in Australia on the day as part of the "Stop Adani" movement.
Logically reached out to the organizers of the "Stop Adani" movement, who confirmed that the photo is from the 2017 protest and not any recent protest against the Adani group. They also pointed us to a local news report about the protest, published on October 9, 2017, which included the same photo. Locals feared the mine would negatively affect the surrounding ecosystem and have serious consequences on the environment.
We also located the registration page for the protest held at Congo Beach where the viral photo was taken. The event was called "Eurobodalla Stop Adani Big Day of Action," and people were asked to wear black and/or red clothes, as seen in the photo. The page also asked participants to meet at the Congo Campground, from where they would go onto the beach for a photo shoot.
An Australian journalist, Daniel Doody, also shared photos of the event on October 9, 2017. His tweet also mentioned that the photos, which were very similar to the viral image, were taken during the protest at Congo Beach in Eurobodalla against the proposed Adani coal mine.
Though the photo was taken during a protest in Australia, it was taken in 2017 when locals were campaigning against Adani's proposed Carmichael coal mine project. The photo doesn't show a recent protest against any Adani project in Australia; therefore, we mark the claim misleading.