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You check Your Self – Allegation picture published in several newspapers had been doctored

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The photographer who covered the 2012 Aidilfitri open house of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and cabinet ministers on Aug 19 regrets that his picture has become a subject of dispute by an opposition party senator who alleged it had been doctored.

“Doctoring picture is not my work culture. In fact, it is not the work culture of any Bernama staff. The allegation is an insult,” said Harry Salzman Abu Bakar, a Bernama photograher.

He concurred with Bernama editor-in-chief Datuk Yong Soo Heong yesterday that the time factor was far too valuable for media personnel and they did not have the time to do something irrational.

“I have many other duties and assignments to attend to in Putrajaya. We are professionals who record the things happening around us and in this case, to convey and share the air of festivity with all and not done in the interest of any individual,” he said.

He confirmed that the picture splashed in the newspapers was taken by him without any addition by him or Bernama as it was a question of uncompromised integrity and credibility.

In early September, an opposition senator issued a statement alleging the picture published in several newspapers had been doctored by amateur graphic artists and the open house picture should have shown children, the aged and the disabled on wheelchairs.

Meanwhile NSTP photograher, Ahmad Irham Mohd Noor who was also at the function, voiced his regret over the senator’s allegation.

He said at that time, only Harry and him were following the prime minister around who had just arrived at the event and they were able to get on the stage with Najib to get the best angle.

“The angle was chosen for a wide coverage of the event which could only be taken from a high location.”

He said it was inappropriate for anyone to question the integrity and ethics of photographers as they were only doing an honest job of recording an actual event with “one picture that tells all”.

Meanwhile, Nikon Profesional Services Malaysia senior manager, Mahfooz NR said the two photographers made the correct move when taking pictures from a high angle to obtain the overall scene.

“To get an overall picture such as of a flood or any other natural disaster, the picture is best taken from a high angle like a helicopter, high building or stage to get a ‘bird’s eye view’,” said the photography expert.

He said for the picture to be modified, it could be easily detected in the detailed data file of the picture.

Meanwhile, Yong said Bernama was inviting anybody to come forward to make a detailed study of the photo and Bernama would accord its cooperation.

“We have nothing to hide on the picture,” he said.

MIC vice-president Datuk S.K. Devamany when contacted by Bernama today confirmed the authenticity of the picture and deemed the senator’s allegation as incorrect.

“I was at the open house that day. Even though he (the senator) is in the opposition, it is not appropriate for him to go to that extent. When we face our political opponents, we should try to be constructive, not destructive,” he said.

Devamany said it could be that the general election was approaching, so the opposition was trying to politicise anything to create a perception solely to garner support.

Devamany who is Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said the senator’s allegation was clearly an attempt to belittle the patriotic spirit of the people who turned up in huge numbers to show their support on that day. -Bernama (hornbillunleashed)