Tuesday 28 August 2012

DAP: Bernama doctored Hari Raya photograph

A DAP senator claims that the national news agency tweaked a photograph to give the impression that thousands of people were supporting the prime minister during Hari Raya.

PETALING JAYA: DAP has questioned the authenticity of a photograph that supposedly showed tens of thousands of people gathering at Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s residence during Hari Raya.

Referring to a Aug 21 The Star report, Senator S Ramakrishnan called the daily’s front cover photo a “blatant lie”.

Citing an anonymous youth’s testimony, he said that the latter did not see the tens of thousands of people as reported in the paper.

This led Ramakrishnan to make the accusation that the photograph, which had been taken by national news agency Bernama, had been doctored.

Ramakrishnan claimed that the Sri Perdana residence in Putrajaya would not have been able to support a crowd of tens of thousands of people.

He alleged that different pictures had been “juxtaposed and superimposed” to create the impression that a large crowd had gathered there.

The DAP leader also wondered why the image did not show Najib there, and queried why it portrayed the people there armed with cameras.

“The picture has been doctored by an amateur graphic artist… Today a child can apply Photoshop and easily manipulate photographs,” he said in a statement.

Speaking to FMT later, Ramakrishnan claimed that he had spoken to some journalists who said that the photo was doctored.

‘Let readers decide’

Asked what was his reason behind the issue, he said that Bernama should not have been used to project Najib’s supposed popularity.

“I think the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, I think to ask the police… This is a clear breach of ethical code for Bernama to do,” he said.

He also called on the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry to reprimand Bernama.

FMT also spoke to the youth that Ramakrishnan cited. Requesting anonymity, the “youth” identified himself as a 30-something-year-old man.

“There was a crowd, maybe about 30,000 to 40,000. But it was definitely not what you could see [in the papers]… It was not [as] the image portrayed,” he said.

Thickening the plot further, he added that half of the crowd were supposedly made up of “foreigners”, which he identified as Iranians and Egyptians.

When contacted, Bernama declined to comment.

However, the news agency said that readers were free to check their website and compare their photographs with the image in question, and make up their own minds in the process.

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