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The flood photo that isn’t

Interesting piece by Myo-ja Ser for the Korea JoongAng Daily that covers photo manipulation, North Korea, and wire service operations:

The Associated Press has withdrawn a photo depicting flooding in North Korea, released recently by the reclusive communist country’s news service, claiming that signs of digital manipulation were detected.

The American news wire agency transmitted the photo to its members and customers on Saturday. “In this photo taken Friday, July 15, 2011, and released Saturday July 16, 2011, by the Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service, residents wade through a flooded street in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea said heavy rains flooded farmland, destroyed homes and caused some deaths,” the AP said in the caption. 

The Korean Central News Agency is a state-run mouthpiece of the North. 

The day after the photo’s release, the AP issued a “kill notice” to tell subscribers that AP decided to withdraw the photo and no longer stood by it. 

“The content of this image has been digitally altered and does not accurately reflect the scene,” AP said in the kill notice. “No other version of the photo is available.” 

I love the idea of the AP giving a KILL NOTICE. I’m imagining someone at a control panel hitting a giant red button that causes the lights to dim and klaxons to go off.

The linked piece includes the photo with the questionable parts highlighted. Do check it out.