Reflections

The mynah incident

Two weeks ago, Chennai readers were shocked to see in the paper a doctored photo of two mynah birds appear on the second page of The Hindu.

While the Editor-in-chief apologized immediately following the complaints from readers who said the image was obviously tampered with, today, in his ONLINE AND OFF LINE column, the Readers’ Editor issued an extended explanation of what happened and how the photo managed to pass through not only the photo department, but the editing department as well.

Although the paper maintained that the senior photographer was “severely punished,” specifically how he was punished was left open interpretation…but I could tell from reading the column this morning that the photographer must have still been on staff:

“His otherwise excellent service record of 24 years mitigating the severity of the action taken.”

Ironically, when I went to a press meet this evening, I was surprised to find out it was the offending photographer who was assigned to cover the same event for which I was assigned from the reporting department. I was further astonished when he admitted to me upon introducing himself that he was the one who had doctored the photo. I couldn’t tell if it was out of shame and guilt that he was admitting this error to me upon our first meeting, or if it was lack of care.

Either way, I was taken aback. First, that this photographer was still being assigned freely to cover events, and second, that I could find no pang of remorse in his tone when he mentioned the breach of ethics.

I guess the doubt I raised this morning was confirmed by nightfall.

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