Wed, Aug 09, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Reuters fires freelancer for manipulating pictures

AP , NEW YORK

The Reuters news agency said it has cut its ties with a Beirut-based freelance photographer whom it found had manipulated two pictures from the ongoing fighting in Lebanon. It also removed all 920 pictures by the photographer from its database.

The agency said on Monday that as a result of the discovery, it has put in place tighter editing procedures for images from the Middle East, requiring that all such photos be reviewed by the top photo editors at its global photo desk.

One of the photographs by Adnan Hajj showed the aftermath of an Israeli air strike on an area of suburban Beirut. It had been manipulated using Photoshop software to show more and darker smoke rising from the buildings.

Reuters cut its relationship with Hajj on Sunday after reviewing that photo, and on Monday found that he had also manipulated a second photograph, showing an Israeli jet fighter over southern Lebanon and dated Aug. 2.

"There is no graver breach of Reuters standards for our photographers than the deliberate manipulation of an image," Tom Szlukovenyi, global photo editor of Reuters, said in a statement from London, where the company has its headquarters.

"Reuters has zero tolerance for any doctoring of pictures and constantly reminds its photographers, both staff and freelance, of this strict and unalterable policy," it said.

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