Bloggers have accused Austria's largest newspaper of using Photoshop to make the battle-ravaged Syrian city of Aleppo look even more war-torn than it already is.
The controversial photo accompanied an article entitled Assads Armee rollt mit Panzem zur, Mutter aller Schlachten ("Assad’s Army tanks pave the way for the ‘mother of all battles'") in the July 28 edition of Die Kronen Zeitung.
It depicts a man holding a child walking alongside a woman in a hijab as they are flanked by the ruins of what appear to be bombed-out apartment blocks.
But astute bloggers on the popular social networking site Reddit realized that while the photo was real, something was fishy about the backdrop.
It turns out the original photo appeared on the European Pressphoto Agency’s website on July 26. But instead of walking through the bombed-out heart of Syria’s largest city, the trio in question are clearly walking through a typical urban landscape where the most striking feature just might be the graffiti-tagged wall they are passing.
With 200,000 people having fled Aleppo since it became the epicenter of the 17-month uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, using Photoshop to dramatize the conflict smacked of overkill to many bloggers.
Critics on Reddit accused the daily of spicing up the print to sell copy, though several posters also accused the newspaper of being biased against pro-government forces.
The “Krone” has a daily readership of around 3 million people, some 43 per cent of the total newspaper audience in the country.
Independent journalist James Corbett believes the black and white media picture being painted of the Syrian conflict is far from fair.
“What it shows is a coordinated series of efforts on the part of the media to really undermine basic journalistic truth, when it comes to reporting, in favor of skewing the story against the Assad government and towards the rebels,” Corbett told RT. “And that shows the political bias of many of these outlets.”