Doctored photo on Net stirs election controversy

Posted on November 26, 1999 
Filed Under CNET, Julian

By Julian Matthews

KUALA LUMPUR–Cut-and-paste artistry showed up as an issue in Malaysia’s election run-up when a 1995 photo was “updated” to reflect new political line-ups.

Malaysia’s biggest Chinese-language newspaper Sin Chew Jit Poh doctored a photo in its Nov 14 issue showing current National Front deputy chairman Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in a group picture of the coalition’s leaders in place of former deputy chairman Anwar Ibrahim.

The substitution was first spotted by subscribers to a Chinese discussion list called Kopitiam on the Net.

It was posted Tuesday on alternative news site Malaysiakini.com side-by-side with a similar photo of the same event, sans the alteration, published by another Chinese daily Nanyang Siang Pau on Nov 19.

Sin Chew Jit Poh editor-in-chief Liew Chen Chuan apologized for the mistake and admitted the ‘updating’ of the photo was “a violation of the cardinal principle of journalism”.

He added that the junior sub-editor responsible had no political motive.

Published in CNET Asia, Nov 26, 1999.

Related links:
‘Phantom’ voters show up on Internet electoral roll, Nov 26, 1999.
Net’s influence limited in this election, Nov 26, 1999.
Malaysian cyber election nixed, Nov 26, 1999.
Malaysian election campaigning gets tech boost, Nov 26, 1999.
Malaysian elections: On the cyber-campaign trail, Dec 10, 1999.

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