AP kills KCNA photo, says it was altered
Hot on the heels of agreements between Korean Central News Agency and both The Associated Press and Reuters to more widely distribute KCNA video, The AP has withdrawn a KCNA photo saying it’s not what it appears to be.
The photo, below, was distributed to AP members and customers on July 16 and purports to show floods that hit Pyongyang a day earlier.
The original caption said: “In this photo taken Friday, July 15, 2011 and released Saturday July 16, 2011 by Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service, residents wade through a flooded street in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea said heavy rains flooded farmland, destroyed homes and caused some deaths.”
AP has a long withstanding agreement with Korea News Service, a Tokyo-based company, to redistribute KCNA photos.
On Sunday, a day after the picture originally ran, the AP decided something about the picture didn’t quite look right and issued a “kill notice” — a message telling subscribers the agency no longer stands by the photo.
EDITORS AND LIBRARIANS PLEASE ELIMINATE FROM YOUR PHOTO SYSTEMS AND ARCHIVES AP PHOTO TOK801 TRANSMITTED JULY 16, 2011. THE CONTENT OF THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN DIGITALLY ALTERED AND DOES NOT ACCURATELY REFLECT THE SCENE. NO OTHER VERSION OF THE PHOTO IS AVAILABLE.
In layman’s terms that means AP editors suspect the image was Photoshopped.
The message doesn’t specify where the problems lie. Unfortunately, I don’t have a high-resolution copy of the image to more closely analyze but a couple of areas of concern might be the way the people’s legs neatly enter the water, the lack of dark water marks on their trousers and a series of horizontal lines running across the water, particularly on the left of the image (although some or all of these might be due to JPEG compression on the file above.)
If true, it highlights one of the problems both agencies face in their expanded agreements with KCNA.
It’s not the first time the agency has been suspected of messing with images. In 2008 it was accused of trying to pass off old photos of Kim Jong Il as fresh and adding Kim to an image of soliders. The AP got someone to look at the latter photo, and he concluded it probably wasn’t manipulated.
As noted Friday, Reuters is adding a disclaimer to the KCNA video it distributes: “Reuters cannot independently verify the video’s accuracy.” The agency has yet to carry any video images of the flooding.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Martyn Williams on July 18, 2011 at 00:02, and is filed under Media. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
- North Korean Economy Watch » Blog Archive » DPRK reports flood damage
- Weekly News Brief – 18 July 2011 « NORTH KOREA NEWS BRIEF
- Associated Press pulls photoshopped image from KCNA of DPRK flooding. » Opening Up North Korea
- AP kills KCNA photo, says it was altered North Korea News & Information Resource NK News
- July 19, 2011 (North Korea) AP kills KCNA photo, says it was altered | Alpha Relief
about 2 months ago - No comments
Fresh from becoming the first person to tweet and Instragram on Koryolink’s new 3G data service, Associated Press Korea Bureau Chief Jean Lee was at the SXSW Interactive event to speak about social media in the DPRK. She’s a great person to speak to on the subject. Her pioneering posting as the first accredited correspondent…
about 3 months ago - No comments
If you’ve been looking for the Korea Central News Agency website over the last day or two, you’ve probably been unable to reach it. Most browsers are returning an error message similar to this one in Chrome: “Oops! Google Chrome could not find www.kcna.kp.” But the site is there. An analysis by NorthKoreaTech.org has revealed…
about 4 months ago - No comments
Just over a week since the Korean Central News Agency completed a major overhaul of its website, several elements of the new site have been changed. The changes address a couple of things that surprised me when I first reviewed the site on January 5. The first is the addition of a Juche date. The…
about 4 months ago - 4 comments
KCNA, North Korea’s state-run news agency, has relaunched its web site. The site, which is one of only a handful hosted in Pyongyang, was first launched in late 2010 and has been redesigned a couple of times since it first went online. The new design, which appears to have debuted on January 4, is perhaps…
about 5 months ago - 5 comments
North Korea’s state media has claimed success in its attempt to put a satellite in orbit. Here’s the KCNA bulletin that ran just after noon local time: The second version of satellite Kwangmyongsong-3 successfully lifted off from the Sohae Space Center in Cholsan County, North Phyongan Province by carrier rocket Unha-3 on Wednesday. The satellite…
about 1 year ago - 2 comments
A joint photo exhibition being staged by The Associated Press and the Korean Central News Agency opened at New York’s The 8th Floor gallery this week. The exhibition is one by-product of the AP’s opening of a news bureau in Pyongyang earlier this year and features 79 photographs, including shots from AP photographers, KCNA staffers…
about 1 year ago - 6 comments
The Associated Press has opened a news bureau in Pyongyang making it the first western news agency to have a reporter and photographer based in the North Korean capital. The bureau represents a coup for the AP over the competition, but its close cooperation with the state-run Korean Central News Agency, necessitated to realize the…
about 1 year ago - 1 comment
The sudden death of Kim Jong Il has North Korea’s propaganda machine scrambling to build stories about the life of Kim Jong Un. The stories are a staple of the North Korean media and occupied hours of broadcast time and columns of newsprint during the era of Kim Jong Il. Designed to build a personality…
about 1 year ago - 3 comments
North Korea’s state news agency published a couple of images on January 4th that appear to show Pyongyang factory workers checking or testing laptop computers. But a closer look reveals something odd about the pictures. The images were published with a brief caption that claimed: “Employees of the Electronics Corporation under the Ministry of Electronics…
about 1 year ago - 1 comment
The official Korea Central News Agency apparently altered at least one of the photos it sent from funeral procession of Kim Jong Il this week. The New York Times’ Lens Blog reported on the image, which was redistributed by several western photo agencies and then killed due to questions over its authenticity. The photo was…