Sunday, August 06, 2006


Reuters admits altering Beirut photo

Ynetnews - Reuters photograph of smoke rising from buildings in Beirut has been withdrawn after coming under attack by American web logs. The blogs accused Reuters of distorting the photograph to include more smoke and damage.

The photograph showed two very heavy plumes of black smoke billowing from buildings in Beirut after an Air Force attack on the Lebanese capital. Reuters has since withdrawn the photograph from its website, along a message admitting that the image was distorted, and an apology to editors.

Doctored Version





Replacement Version


In the message, Reuters said that "photo editing software was improperly used on this image. A corrected version will immediately follow this advisory. We are sorry for any inconvience."

Reuters' head of PR Moira Whittle said in response: "Reuters has suspended a photographer until investigations are completed into changes made to a photograph showing smoke billowing from buildings following an air strike on Beirut. Reuters takes such matters extremely seriously as it is strictly against company editorial policy to alter pictures."

"As soon as the allegation came to light, the photograph, filed on Saturday 5 August, was removed from the file and a replacement, showing the same scene, was sent. The explanation for the removal was the improper use of photo-editing software," she added.

Johnson added: "Smoke simply does not contain repeating symmetrical patterns like this, and you can see the repetition in both plumes of smoke. There’s really no question about it."

Speaking to Ynetnews, Johnson said: "This has to cast doubt not only on the photographer who did the alterations, but on Reuters' entire review process. If they could let such an obvious fake get through to publication, how many more faked or 'enhanced' photos have not been caught?"