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Chinese paper apologises for altering picture

Date: 26 Nov 1999
Time: 04:21:00


Chinese paper apologises for altering picture VANISHING ACT 24/11/99

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's largest-circulation Chinese-language newspaper issued an apology on Monday for having altered a photograph of the country's political elite that appeared in the paper last week.

The photograph showed jubilant politicians at a rally five years ago. But editors at the paper, Sin Chew Jit Poh, removed from the photo the face of Anwar Ibrahim, who was then deputy Prime Minister, and replaced it with the face of a man now in that position, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Sin Chew Jit Poh said a junior sub-editor doctored the 1995 photograph which ran in the Nov 14 edition of the daily.

Editor-in-chief Liew Chen Chuan said the alteration was "inexcusable, a violation of a cardinal principle of journalism", but said the sub-editor had no political motive in doctoring the file picture of the Barisan Nasional ruling alliance.

"He felt that, as Anwar Ibrahim was no longer in the Barisan Nasional, his presence in that photograph was inappropriate," Mr Liew said in a letter posted on a website that had disclosed the alteration of the photograph.

"Hence modern technology was employed to render the picture more reflective of the situation today," he said.

An editor yesterday confirmed the authenticity of the letter. "Of course, the appropriate action will be taken to ensure that such lapses in judgement do not recur," said Mr Liew.

With national elections less than a week away, the altering of the photograph has been interpretated as an effort to blot out any trace of Anwar, the opposition's candidate for Prime Minister.

But perhaps more significant about the controversy is that most readers of Sin Chew Jit Poh, which has a circulation of more than 250,000 know nothing about it from the newspaper.

Mr Liew's words of contrition were not printed in the paper.

The controversy over the photo highlights the role that the Internet is playing in politics here one week before what has been described as "cyberelection".

The global network has broken the government's quasi-monopoly over information and offered Malaysians access to alternative sources of news. --

Reuters, International Herald Tribune Apakah sukar untuk mereka memalsukan juga gambar dan video DSAI seterusnya?

Last changed: November 26, 1999