The home and cultural ministers must apologise following Bernama’s admission that one of its photographs had been doctored, as the news agency belongs to the government, said Johor PKR.

“It is the Barisan Nasional (BN) government’s national news agency and therefore the ministers linked to media affairs, namely Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yatim, must apologise to Malaysians for the national shame,” said Johor PKR chief Chua Jui Meng.

pkr congress 271110 jimmy chua jui mengChua (right) in a statement today said this was necessary because Bernama’s admission of the “unethical” incident alone was insufficient.

“Admitting that its photographs of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in Pekan, Pahang....were doctored to reflect huge crowds is not enough.

“Finding a scapegoat to take the rap is also deplorable as it will further shame Malaysia,” he said.

Chua cast doubts on Bernama’s explanation that the doctored photograph had been attributed to the photographer and an alleged attempt to “sabotage” the government-owned news agency.

“Very few Malaysians, save for loyal BN supporters who are always giving blind support, believe that the doctoring of pictures was the act of an individual out to sabotage the national news agency.

“The delayed admission by Bernama that its pictures were doctored raises doubts of sincerity," said Chua.

'Doctored on whose orders?'

Last Sunday, New Straits Times ran a photograph depicting Najib being mobbed by a crowd in his constituency of Pekan.

Netizens were quick to point out that the photograph had been manipulated to depict a larger crowd as evident in the presence of duplicate faces.

NONEYesterday, Bernama’s editor-in-chief Yong Soo Heong admitted the “flaw” in the photograph and attributed the problem to the image’s “source”.

In the Bernama report carrying his explanation, Yong added that further investigations will look at possible motives and whether there could be possible elements of sabotage.

Chua however pointed out that Bernama had earlier been quick to deny the incident and asked if the news agency was acting from orders from the top.

“Do you expect Malaysians to believe Yong, who was quick to dismiss the allegations when the picture was clearly doctored and then admitted guilt when pressure for the truth continued to mount?

NONE“I doubt the doctoring was done by the photographer who would not be so stupid to put his job on the line because such doctoring can be easily detected.
"But he could have been pressured by his superiors to do so.

“Whatever, this is going to be another case of going after the ikan bilis instead of the big fish,” he said.

This is the second time this month where the integrity of Bernama's photograph has been questioned, after netizens claimed that a photograph taken at Najib's open house event over the Aidilfitri weekend was doctored to portray a large crowd.

Bernama had also denied any manipulation in the earlier photograph.