A German newspaper which has been accused by Chinese authorities of putting a false caption on a picture of violence in Tibet said Sunday in its online edition that the search for the truth would be difficult. ( dpa )
In both its print and online editions, the Berliner Morgenpost had printed the picture of a man hunched and running through a Lhasa street with a security officer holding his arm.
The Xinhua news agency said Sunday the paper had wrongly stated the man was a Tibetan being led away by police.
According to the agency, the man was of China's majority Han ethnicity and was being rescued from rioters by police.
The Berliner Morgenpost replied, "The Chinese authorities have expelled all Western journalists from Tibet and the only pictures now available are from the state-controlled Chinese media."
It said the published photograph had come from video footage broadcast by China's CCTV state television. The Reuters and AFP photo services had distributed stills from the TV images on March 16. The Reuters caption said neutrally the man was being "escorted."
Translated into German, the Morgenpost's online caption had been, "A revolter is taken away by security authorities during the protests in Tibet's capital Lhasa."
A spokesman for the newspaper could not be contacted for comment.
Describing the controversy online under a heading, "The difficult search for the truth," the Morgenpost said Sunday it was not possible just yet for it to establish what the photograph really showed.
Morgenpost said it was up against a "news stalemate," since news agencies needed to trust sources, yet could not entirely rely on information from parties pursuing an interest of their own.
Xinhua also accused a German news network, N-TV, of using footage shot in Nepal and of Nepalese taking away protesters and claiming this depicted Tibet. At N-TV offices in Cologne, a spokesman said, "We are taking this seriously and investigating."
Tens of thousands of internet users were "called on" to protest the manipulation of the facts, Xinhua reported.
The Morgenpost said its office in China received several angry anonymous phone calls, with one man chanting an obscenity.