Photo Agencies Compare Royal Family to North Korea After Kate Editing Scandal

Kim Jong-Un and Kate Photo

The global news director of Agent France-Presse (AFP) has compared Kensington Palace to North Korea, stating it is no longer a “trusted source” of information after the revelations Kate Middleton Photoshopped her own picture.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4‘s The Media Show on Wednesday, Phil Chetwynd said that the royals are “absolutely not” a reliable source after the debacle.

“Like with anything, when you’re let down by a source the bar is raised,” Chetwynd told the radio show.

“We sent out notes to all our teams at the moment to be absolutely super more vigilant about the content coming across our desk. Even from what we would call trusted sources.”

Chetwynd noted how rare it is for agencies to kill photos adding that AFP was forced into the action after requests for the original photo were ignored.

“The previous kills have been from the North Korean news agency or the Iranian news agency, just to give you some background and context,” he adds.

The Associated Press (AP), which also withdrew the photo, today published a video entitled “How the Associated Press spots digital manipulation in photographs”.

AP photo editor Kiichiro Sato gives examples of previous photo withdrawals that came from pariah states North Korea and Cuba.

“We have to rely on handout photos from the government when we don’t have access,” says Sato.

The photo editor says that he blows up handout images to check for digital alterations and manipulations. In one example, AP pulled a photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un because a map on a table had been blurred.

In another case, a photo handed to AP of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro had been edited to remove Castro’s hearing aid, meaning the agency refused to circulate the altered picture.

In a tweet signed by Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales said, “Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing.”

The admission from The Prince and Princess of Wales’ X account that the image was edited may have only come about because news agencies such as AFP issued the rare “kill” notice on the photo after it was apparent the photo had been manipulated.

However, the photo controversy has intensified speculation over Kate’s health and whereabouts. She hasn’t been seen in public since last year and the revelation that the official photo posted to mark Mother’s Day in the U.K. was doctored has seemingly sent the world into a frenzy.