Saturday, September 18, 2010

Newsy: Newspaper Doctors Photo of Egyptian President

Egypt’s oldest state-run newspaper is catching heat for running a doctored image of President Hosni Mubarak at Middle East peace talks in Washington.

Egypt’s oldest state-run newspaper - Al Ahram - is the brunt of both jokes and international condemnation for running a doctored image of President Hosni Mubarak at Middle East peace talks in Washington.

“It shows Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak leading the way among those leaders, and that’s just great. Folks at home love it. Until you see the original photo, of Hosni Mubarak trailing badly on the outside lane.” (NBC)

Anchors on France 24 share a laugh at the creative Photoshopping -- saying it doesn’t even make sense that Mr. Mubarak would be leading the way: “Why of course would he be in the foreground at the White House? You would expect Obama to be out in front. (As in fact he is- laughter) That’s where he actually was, trailing behind on the extremity, on the flanking. Extraordinary stuff.”

But to some, the doctored image is no laughing matter. AOL News reports opposition groups are seizing on the incident as an example of the kind of deception and message manipulation Mubarak’s government is well-known for: “'s in keeping with the censorship, including self-censorship, that besmirches much of the Arab media world. And it also speaks to Mubarak's insecurities. While it's highly unlikely he personally ordered the doctoring, whomever did so knew the president wouldn't like to see himself bringing up the rear.”

Independent Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm quotes the editors behind the doctored image -- who say the picture was only meant to be expressive -- more like a symbol: “[The picture] is a lively expression of the precise political position of President Mubarak in the Palestinian issue.”

But a CNN report is skeptical of that explanation, suggesting the image clearly intended to mislead: “It reads, ‘The Road to Sharm El Sheikh, implying that the 82-year-old Egyptian president is the driving force behind peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. ... Friday the paper’s editor wrote that the picture was meant to be expressive, underscoring Egypt’s historic role in the peace process. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what this doctored picture has to say about the editors in Egypt’s bloated state-run media, is not very flattering.”

Writer: Christina Hartman

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