Mail defends changes to Iraq bomb picture

The Daily Mail has been criticised for apparently altering a graphic picture showing the aftermath of an Iraqi roadside bomb that killed two people and injured six more.

The picture, featured in several national newspapers, showed two bodies strewn among the debris and a baby boy who emerged unhurt.

In the Mail’s version, what appear to be two limbs clearly visible in the original have been removed and a man’s body in the foreground has apparently been darkened so that it is not visible.

The Daily Mirror, which used the same photo, avoided showing the dead body by superimposing a caption.

A spokeswoman for Reuters said: ‘While we understand that some of the images coming out of Iraq can be distressing, Reuters has strict guidelines that do not allow the manipulation of a Reuters image in any way.”

One national newspaper picture desk journalist said: ‘While I do believe we as picture desk executives and the newspapers have a moral responsibility for graphic content which we reproduce in our publications, we cannot for the sake of a good story or headline manipulate pictures.”

The Press Complaints Commission’s Editors’ Code of Conduct bans the ‘distortion’of images under its first clause – accuracy.

Daily Mail executive managing editor Robin Esser said: ‘The backbench took the decision that this was an important picture and should be published. However, the images of body parts and bodies were removed for reasons of taste and to spare the feelings of any of the bereaved who might see the picture.

‘Of course, the removal of these details did not alter the essential message of the photograph.”

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