My Weblog

August 7, 2006

Qana Photographer Caught Doctoring Photos

Filed under: Images/Foto, Media, Mellemøsten — limewoody @ 6:58 am

LONDON, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Reuters, the global news and information agency, told a freelance Lebanese photographer on Sunday it would not use any more of his pictures after he doctored an image of the aftermath of an Israeli air strike on Beirut. The photograph by Adnan Hajj, which was published on news Web sites on Saturday, showed thick black smoke rising above buildings in the Lebanese capital after an Israeli air raid in the war with the Shi’ite Islamic group Hizbollah, now in its fourth week. Reuters withdrew the doctored image on Sunday and replaced it with the unaltered photograph after several news blogs said it had been manipulated using Photoshop software to show more smoke. Reuters has strict standards of accuracy that bar the manipulation of images in ways that mislead the viewer. “The photographer has denied deliberately attempting to manipulate the image, saying that he was trying to remove dust marks and that he made mistakes due to the bad lighting conditions he was working under,” said Moira Whittle, the head of public relations for Reuters. “This represents a serious breach of Reuters’ standards and we shall not be accepting or using pictures taken by him,” Whittle said in a statement issued in London. Hajj worked for Reuters as a non-staff freelance, or contributing photographer, from 1993 until 2003 and again since April 2005. He was among several photographers from the main international news agencies whose images of a dead child being held up by a rescuer in the village of Qana, south Lebanon, after an Israeli air strike on July 30 have been challenged by blogs critical of the mainstream media’s coverage of the Middle East conflict. Reuters and other news organisations reviewed those images and have all rejected allegations that the photographs were staged.

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