Reuters says second Lebanon picture was faked

Reuters has revealed that a second image was altered by Beirut-based freelance Adnan Hajj.

It has therefore announced that it is removing all 920 of Hajj's photographs from the agency’s database.

Internet bloggers first highlighted the fact that Hajj had apparently used a Photoshop type programme to add extra smoke to a picture of a bombed building in Beirut.

A Reuters inquiry has now found that a second photograph – that of an Israeli F-16 fighter over Nabatiyeh, southern Lebanon dated 2 August, had been doctored to increase the number of flares dropped by the plane from one to three.

The global news agency revealed today that a tighter editing procedure had now been put in place to ensure that, regarding the Middle East, “no photograph from the region would be transmitted to subscribers without review by the most senior editor on the Reuters Global Pictures Desk.”

Reuters global picture editor Tom Szlukovenyi said: “There is no graver breach of Reuters standards for our photographers than the deliberate manipulation of an image.

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

“Manipulating photographs in this way is entirely unacceptable and contrary to all the principles consistently held by Reuters throughout its long and distinguished history. It undermines not only our reputation but also the good name of all our photographers.

“This doesn’t mean that every one of his 920 photographs in our database was altered. We know that not to be the case from the majority of images we have looked at so far but we need to act swiftly and in a precautionary manner.”

According to Reuters, the two altered photographs were among 43 that Hajj had filed directly to the Global Pictures Desk since the start of the conflict on 12 July rather than through an editor in Beirut, as was the case with most of his images.

Hajj worked for Reuters as a non-staff contributing photographer from 1993 until 2003 and again since April 2005.

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