I just read that Bernama has admitted to doctoring a photo with the Prime Minister. Of course they are crying sabotage and denying any previous edits. Stop and read that, its well worth it.
I’m not surprised. Neither should you be. Anything that comes from Bernama tends to be pro-government. I gave up trust in them since 2006, when I had a little issue with them stealing my photo without attribution which I’ll talk about in a bit.
Bernama is an independent body placed under the Ministry of Information, Culture & Communication, started by an act of parliament. Wikipedia’s Bernama entry isn’t half bad, and if you’re inclined, you can read the Bernama Act 1967. Its quite clear that beyond subscription income, they’re probably funded by the ministry (this isn’t a fact but a presumption – I have no time to dig this up).
What’s my beef with Bernama? They have no issue with using what’s not theirs, i.e. they don’t believe in proper attribution. They do not respect the Creative Commons licenses either. They didn’t in 2006, and they probably don’t in 2012.
Imagine my shock when a photo of mine was attributed to be a Bernamapic in an article? Besides a tighter crop, the news agency didn’t respect the attribution, non-commercial aspect of the CC license. Bernama charges up to RM500/month to access its newswire for blogs, and this cost is bound to go up for other print publications. Can’t afford a photographer?
Speaking to them, they claimed that they would investigate but naturally, nothing came of it. I had thought of taking legal action but decided against it as my life wasn’t in Malaysia.
Alas, I have never had much faith in them, and neither should you.
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2006 18:40:46 +1100
From: Colin Charles <firstname.lastname@example.org>
User-Agent: Thunderbird 184.108.40.206 (Macintosh/20060909)
Subject: Using pictures without attribution
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
We spoke on the phone recently
Here are the photos (sources): http://bytebot.net/tmp/Take1FiestaMalaysia/
It was used in the star:
And in the NST in a article titled “A taste of Malaysia in Melbourne”
Now, I don’t mind you using the photos, but you have to accept copyright
and attribute it to where you got it from. Saying it came from Colin
Charles, will be a start. (i.e. I’m not even asking for payment)
This is a sample of more pictures to come, from the event at:
(there’ll be a fiestamalaysia group on Flickr, if you’ve noticed from
the above picture)
Colin Charles, http://www.bytebot.net/