Wrong to alter photos

The Citizen has noted concerns raised about its front page photo of Wednesday, 19 September 2012.

The photo, supplied by Agence France-Presse, was digitally altered prior publication to remove two bodies depicted in the original.

A decision was made during the editorial conference the day before to run the picture in question, but to blur the bodies, in the same manner as was done during television broadcasts of the aftermath of the attack.

This directive was not carried out. Instead the bodies were digitally cloned out of the photo.

We regret this and are taking steps to ensure that it does not happen again.

The Citizen feels very strongly that photographs should never be digitally altered in this manner.

When photographs contain imagery judged too graphic for publication, those areas should be blurred and this should be explained in the caption.

“The photo should never have been published in that form,” The Citizen Editor Martin Williams said on Thursday, 20 September.

“It is always a complicated decision to decide how much gore and graphic violence we allow onto the front page. We recently published a photo of the Marikana massacre, with the bodies of the dead clearly visible. This photo was not nearly as graphic as the Kabul one, which is why the bodies were not blurred.

“Due to the much more graphic nature of the Kabul blast photo, we felt that blurring the bodies was appropriate. Removing them completely is, however, completely inexcusable and we readily admit that this never should have happened.”

ISSUED BY: The Citizen Newspaper

Contact: michaelc@citizen.co.za