N.Korea Doctors Funeral Photo

      December 30, 2011 11:41

      A picture by Japan's Kyodo news agency (top); and a picture released by the [North] Korean Central Agency.

      North Korea doctored a photograph of Kim Jong-il's funeral procession that was distributed to the foreign press. The New York Times on Thursday demonstrated that the picture distributed by the North's official Korean Central News Agency and transmitted by the European Pressphoto Agency was Photoshopped to remove a group of men standing to the side of the procession.

      The photo shows mourners neatly lined up on both sides of Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang as the funeral procession passes by. But in a photo taken from the same vantage point by Japan's Kyodo news agency, six men are untidily milling around behind the long row of mourners on the left. They appear to be a film crew and are standing around a camera.

      It appears that KCNA erased the men in the photo since an overeager photo editor felt they tainted an otherwise impeccable image, the NYT speculated.

      The paper sought the opinion of digital forensics expert Hany Farid of Dartmouth College, who said, "It would have taken all of 30 seconds. But they were a little too quick in the cloning. Some of the concrete is covered up by snow."

      Like other dictatorships, North Korea has a long and ignominious history of tampering with photographs, most egregiously a picture last year that supposedly showed flood victims in a submerged road that had apparently been doctored to get money from international aid agencies.

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