Heilongjiang newspaper fires journalist for award-winning fake photograph

By David Bandurski — Liu Weiqiang (刘为强), the journalist implicated in the latest fake photo scandal to rock China, was fired from his newspaper in northern China, which also issued a public apology for the incident, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

In a public statement deflecting responsibility for the incident from China Central Television and Xinhua, the editorial committee (编委会) of the Daqing Evening News (大庆晚报) said in a public statement issued via the Web Monday that the paper “apologized to China Central Television, Xinhua Online, other media that had run the photo, and to readers” for the photo’s “negative influence.”

antelope-gate-coverage-qqcom.jpg

[ABOVE: Screenshot of QQ.com coverage of the firing of journalist Liu Weiqiang and the apology from his employer.]

The newspaper, a commercial spin-off of the official Daqing Daily newspaper in northern China’s Heilongjiang Province, said a thorough review had confirmed that the photograph was a composite created with Photoshop software.

Daqing Evening News said in its apology that although Liu Weiqiang had spent 300 days of hard work in the field and “achieved notable results in protecting the Tibetan antelope”, his news photo was a violation of journalistic ethics and integrity.

The use of technology to modify the photo, the paper said, had had a “very bad influence.”

While the paper had not encouraged Liu’s participation in the CCTV awards, a spokesperson for Daqing Evening News said, the editorial committee nevertheless recognized its responsibility.

The decision to fire Liu Weiqiang was reportedly made in an editorial committee meeting on February 17.

Liu was formerly vice-head of the photography department at Daqing Evening News.

[Posted February 19, 2008, 11:53pm HK]

5 Comments to “Heilongjiang newspaper fires journalist for award-winning fake photograph”

  1. yarak says:

    这个记者PS水平还挺高的嘛,是个人才

  2. [...] anche l’articolo su China Media Project e su [...]

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  4. heroinbob says:

    Well, that was pretty fucking disingenuous, Mr. Jirik.

    *golf clap*

  5. John Jirik says:

    One unexplored area of the fake photos controversy is the assumption in the accusations that somehow some photos are not fake.

    But all photographs are fabricated. Constructed. Fictive. What news story is not?

    Of the four forms of media content: aural, visual, audiovisual and text, the most fake is text, since it is the least real. The only real thing in a text story is the print on the page. The rest is a fiction, the processing of the myriad possibilities that the facts offer as a starting point in the myriad contexts that enable and constrain the possibilities of fabrication.

    It seems to me that photos are under the hammer because they’re more easily analyzed. Unlike text, the agent and audience are less required to reason or imagine to what use the raw materials can be put and what the printed word might say. Pictures are visible and we foolishly trust our eyes. And they’re not moving, so one can peruse them more easily at one’s leisure.

    So it seems to me photos are unfairly bearing the brunt of this scrutiny that should apply much more to text. Every news story is to a lesser or greater degree an abuse of trust. So why single out photographers and photo editors who are not naive enough to believe that reporting the news is telling the truth or representing reality and not hypocritical or sophisticated enough to hide what they are doing, and work in a medium that least of all allows them to get away with it.

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