July 19, 2011 09:06
North Korea's KCNA news agency stands accused of digitally altering a photo distributed last Saturday to exaggerate flood damage in the Stalinist country following record summer rains. "The content of this image has been digitally altered and does not accurately reflect the scene," the Associated Press said in a correction distancing itself from the picture.
Under a memorandum of understanding of June 29, AP will become the first western news agency to open a bureau in Pyongyang.
The photo in question was allegedly taken by KCNA last Friday and supplied to AP the following day. It shows seven people apparently wading along a flooded road near the Taedong River.
But Lee Yong-hwan, a professor of photography at Chungang University, said, "The boundary between the trees and the water on the left side is blurry, and there is a pixel spread at the knees of the man carrying his shoes in his hands. There are signs that the photo was altered."
As evidence of Photoshopping, the website North Korean Tech cited the way the people's legs neatly enter the water and the lack of dark water marks on their trousers.
A Unification Ministry official said, "The North seems to be exaggerating flood damage to extract aid from the international community."
KCNA joins the Syrian news agency and a Chinese provincial authority in a roll-call of recent botched attempts to photoshop official pictures.
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