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More Questions About Middle East War Photos

We noticed last week that after some bloggers and talk radio hosts aired their suspicions about various news outlets staging photos of the aftermath of Israeli air strikes on Qana, accused news agencies actually responded. In an Associated Press article detailing the accusations, the outlets responded by denying the photos were staged.

While that controversy seems to have dissipated somewhat, questions suggesting that another photo taken during air strikes on Beirut was doctored arose -- and yesterday Reuters pulled the altered photo and said it was no longer accepting pictures from the photographer. According to the Jerusalem Post, the photo "which shows plumes of smoke rising from downtown Beirut after an IAF bombing, appeared to have been doctored to show more intense smoke and destruction over the city." (FishbowlNY has the photo, with and without alterations.) The photographer, Adnan Hajj, "was among several photographers from the main international news agencies whose images of a dead child being held up by a rescuer in the village of Qana, south Lebanon, after an Israeli air strike on July 30 have been challenged by blogs critical of the mainstream media's coverage of the Middle East conflict," according to a Reuters story, which also included a comment from Moira Whittle, the head of public relations for Reuters: "The photographer has denied deliberately attempting to manipulate the image, saying that he was trying to remove dust marks and that he made mistakes due to the bad lighting conditions he was working under." Nonetheless, the statement continued: "This represents a serious breach of Reuters' standards and we shall not be accepting or using pictures taken by him."

UPDATE: Reuters has discovered that Hajj altered another photo and has withdrawn from its database all 920 photos taken by the photographer, a move that a Reuters photo editor called "precautionary."

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