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Bernama takes down suspicious crowd photo

Wed 2012-Sep-19 @ +08 14:40:10 pm

Bernama, the national news agency, has quietly taken down a news photograph which appeared to have been doctored with a duplicated crowd scene at a constituency function held by Umno president Najib Tun Razak in Pekan.

No explanation has been made by the news agency.

Opposition web sites such as Harakah, trying to pin it on the New Straits Times, talk about “an apparent attempt by the daily to make the crowd look mammoth”. It would hardly seem worth the effort, just to add a dozen or so extra people to a crowd, and foolhardy to do so, just two weeks after Bernama had been accused of also doctoring the crowd scene at Putrajaya’s Hari Raya open house.

So the question remains: why carry out a stupid piece of Photoshoppery? And whodunnit?

Why duplicate a tiny and insignificant portion of a crowd scene that, most likely, no one (except opposition supporters) would have noticed, even if that section was empty. The rest of the crowd seemed pretty big, judging from the other photos in Bernama’s gallery. Answers are not forthcoming. Bernama executives were not available.

The photo had been run in the New Straits Times without originally being credited to Bernama. The image was at all times available at the online gallery of Bernama Images, where news photographs are displayed for public viewing and purchase. Photographs in the public gallery are watermarked (below) but not the higher-resolution images for press use. (Bernama supplies news reports and photographs to the press.)

The original image of this photo was taken from Bernama Images’ online gallery. The oval around Najib shows the Bernama watermark that is placed on every photo for public viewing. The upper oval shows the suspicious portion.

The watermark shows that it is a Bernama image.

The suspicious portion of the Bernama photo

On photo credits

Sometimes newspapers drop or forget to use photo credits, especially when a supplied photo is used instead of a staff photo, or when a Bernama photo and Bernama story are both used as a package. (Newspapers have a phobia of showing that it’s not their own work.)

It is at times like these, when a photograph or report becomes the story in itself, that photo and news credits earn their worth, when a suspicious public queries every detail.

But will the photo desk and NST editors — and their subs desks — now inspect every inch of every photo (whether their own, or supplied) for signs of tampering?

Last night, Malaysiakini had this to say in its report on the photo:

Another blogger who goes by the name uppercaise claimed that the photograph was from national news agency Bernama. This could not be verified at the time of writing.

Here’s the NST web site today:

Screenshot of NST Online today: belated credit (and blame, of course) for Bernama

The photo was later also removed from NST Online.


  1. vasantha permalink
    Wed 2012-Sep-19 @ +08 23:34:53 pm 23:34

    Very shameful turn of events. Can do better!

  2. Lok1 permalink
    Thu 2012-Sep-20 @ +08 00:01:48 am 00:01

    With people like Barnama,najib doesn’t need any more enemies,as stupid as I think he is,that’s real low for having idiots in your team,It’s like you blaming the goal keeper for letting the ball slip when it’s your defender that kicks it in,what a joke.

  3. raj permalink
    Thu 2012-Sep-20 @ +08 15:44:32 pm 15:44

    Bernama was credited in the print version on Sunday, Sept 16. What was funny though, was that the headline next to the photo ran: Sept 16 is the day of the big lie. Right next to the photo! Thick irony…

    • uppercaise permalink*
      Thu 2012-Sep-20 @ +08 20:07:26 pm 20:07

      Send a photo.


  1. Another doctored Bernama photo of Najib crowd « uppercaise

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