The image was “distributed in July 16” and originally came from Korean Central News Agency. Mondo Times reports that the Korean Central News Agency is “state run” and “owned by the North Korean government.”
The doctored photo shows men wading in a “flood scene in North Korea’s capital Pyeongyang,” according to Arirang.
Unnamed “observers” have explained that the Photoshop may have been “to warm up support for more international aid,” Arirang reported.
The kill notice reads: “The content of this image has been digitally altered and does not accurately reflect the scene.”
AP spokesperson Paul Colford reportedly told Radio Free Asia that the photo wasn’t supposed to be released by the AP. “It did go on the wire by mistake,” Colford is quoted as saying.
According to Joongang Daily, the AP began working with the Korean news agency just last month. See here the AP’s June 29 press release on the arrangement.
StinkyJournalism wrote to the Associated Press asking for comment and more information. The AP’s director of media relations, Paul Colford, confirmed that the photo was put on “the AP wire because of human error” and that the “kill notice” was sent because the image was “digitally altered.”
However, the AP did not respond to our question asking how the AP detected the photo alteration. We also asked if the photo alteration would affect the AP’s working relationship with the Korean Central News Agency, as Joongang Daily questioned, but the AP didn’t respond.
StinkyJournalism has written to the Korean Central News Agency for more information and will update with any response.