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Reuters drops Beirut photographer

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The news agency Reuters, has withdrawn from sale 920 pictures taken by a photographer after finding he had doctored two images taken in Lebanon.

Bloggers first spotted that smoke on Adnan Hajj’s image of the aftermath of an Israeli air strike in Beirut appeared to have been made darker.{{more}}

A Reuters investigation confirmed this and also found two flares had been added to an image of an Israeli jet.

Hajj told the BBC he denied doctoring the content of the images.

He claimed that he had tried to clean dust off the first image, a shot of buildings in a suburb of Beirut, on which Reuters found smoke plumes had been darkened and expanded using computer software.

“It was so badly done – an amateur could have done better,” Bob Bodman, Picture Editor at the Daily Telegraph newspaper, told the BBC.

Hajj, a freelance photographer working for Reuters, denied altering the second photograph, an image of an Israeli F-16 fighter over Nabatiyeh in southern Lebanon.

Paul Holmes, Editor of Political and General News at Reuters, told the BBC that senior photographers at the agency “weren’t convinced” that cleaning dust off the first image would result in the manipulation the image showed.

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