Paper apologises for fake photo

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 February, 2008, 12:00am

A mainland newspaper apologised yesterday for using a staff photographer's award-winning - yet fabricated - photo of Tibetan antelope.

The apology came a day after Daqing Evening News editor-in-chief Wang Zhongyi resigned over the controversy, according to Xinhua.

The newspaper posted an online statement apologising to its readers and other media that ran the photograph for causing 'abominable impacts'.

The image shows over 20 Tibetan antelope running under a bridge on the Qinghai-Tibet railway as a train passes by. Photographer Liu Weiqiang admitted on Saturday that he had merged two of his photos to create the image.

The photograph drew widespread public attention when it was first published in 2006 to mark the opening of the railway.

It was carried by many websites and used by the government to dismiss concerns about the impact of the line's construction on wildlife.

It was later chosen as one of 'the 10 most impressive news photographs of 2006' in a contest sponsored by China Central Television.

But its authenticity was questioned two weeks ago, when a contributor to a photography chat room asked why the easily disturbed antelopes appeared so calm as a train roared past.

In the statement, the newspaper said Liu 'violated a journalist's code of conduct and ethics by modifying a news photograph, and has created a very bad influence'.