- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Associated Press says it has severed ties with a Pulitzer Prize-winning freelance photographer who admitted to altering a photo he took while covering the war in Syria last year.

The news agency said Wednesday that Narciso Contreras manipulated a digital picture, using software to edit a colleague’s video camera out of the lower left corner of the frame.

An investigation showed that no other photos were altered; however, all of Mr. Contreras’ images were deleted from AP’s publicly available archive and he has been terminated from the agency.

“AP’s reputation is paramount and we react decisively and vigorously when it is tarnished by actions in violation of our ethics code,” said the wire’s vice president Santiago Lyon. “Deliberately removing elements from our photographs is completely unacceptable.”

Mr. Contreras expressed regret for altering the photo and said he removed the camera out of fear it would distract viewers.

“I took the wrong decision when I removed the camera … I feel ashamed about that,” he said Wednesday. “You can go through my archives and you can find that this is a single case that happened probably at one very stressed moment, at one very difficult situation, but yeah, it happened to me, so I have to assume the consequences.”

Mr. Contreras, a Mexican citizen, was among a team of five photographers who shared the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography from the Syrian conflict.

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