State-run media in authoritarian regimes seem to have a particular propensity for altering photographs for the benefit of their leaders. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak – before being ousted earlier this year – made a visit to the White House in 2010 to take part in an effort to get Palestinian-Israeli peace talks back on track. As part of their coverage, Egyptian state newspaper Al-Ahram ran a photo of the leaders involved, including US President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, walking along the red carpet, with President Mubarak leading the way. The problem? Mubarak was actually trailing the group, with Mr. Obama at the fore. Al-Ahram later removed the image.
But some authoritarian edits are just strange, like this odd photo of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad swearing in the new governor of the city of Hama. David McCoy, imaging expert for the Guardian, suggests that the photo is in fact a combination of two separate pictures. If so, it seems a lot of effort for apparently little purpose.