AP: Fidel Castro handout photos digitally altered

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AP: Fidel Castro handout photos digitally altered
COMBO - This photo combination of four handout pictures show, top left, an unaltered image provided by photographer Alex Castro of Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez, left, with Cuban leader Fidel Castro, right, and Fidel's wife Dalia Soto del Valle during a private meeting, Jan. 26, 2014, in Havana, Cuba. On the top right is the same image released through Estudios Revolucion, digitally altered to remove what appears to be a hearing aid from the retired leader's ear. The bottom left image is a blown up view of the unaltered image and the bottom right image is a blown up view of the altered image. The Associated Press is eliminating from its archive this image and six more of the Cuban government handout photos of Fidel Castro meeting with leaders participating in a recent Latin America and Caribbean summit, after determining some were digitally altered. (AP Photo/Alex Castro, Cubadebate)
Image released by Argentina's press office, shows cuban leader Fidel Castro, his wife Dalia Soto del Valle, and Argentina President Cristina Fernandez (l), during a private meeting, Havana, graphic element on gray
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IS ELIMINATING FROM ITS ARCHIVE THIS IMAGE AND SIX MORE OF THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT HANDOUT PHOTOS OF FIDEL CASTRO MEETING WITH LEADERS PARTICIPATING IN A RECENT LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN SUMMIT, AFTER DETERMINING SOME WERE DIGITALLY ALTERED- In this picture released by Argentina's press office, Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez, left, talks with Cuban leader Fidel Castro, right, and Fidel's wife Dalia Soto del Valle during a private meeting, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014 in Havana, Cuba. Fernandez is in Havana to attend the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC, summit. (AP Photo/HO, Argentina's Press Office)
Image released by Argentina's press office, shows cuban leader Fidel Castro and Argentina President Cristina Fernandez, during a private meeting, Havana, graphic element on gray
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IS ELIMINATING FROM ITS ARCHIVE THIS IMAGE AND SIX MORE OF THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT HANDOUT PHOTOS OF FIDEL CASTRO MEETING WITH LEADERS PARTICIPATING IN A RECENT LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN SUMMIT, AFTER DETERMINING SOME WERE DIGITALLY ALTERED.- In this picture released by Argentina's press office, Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez look at a collection of photo portraits of Fidel during a private meeting, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014 in Havana, Cuba. Fernandez is in Havana to attend the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC, summit. (AP Photo/HO,Argentina's Press Office)
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IS ELIMINATING FROM ITS ARCHIVE THIS IMAGE AND SIX MORE OF THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT HANDOUT PHOTOS OF FIDEL CASTRO MEETING WITH LEADERS PARTICIPATING IN A RECENT LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN SUMMIT, AFTER DETERMINING SOME WERE DIGITALLY ALTERED.- In this photo released by Cubadebate, Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega, left, embraces Cuba's former President Fidel Castro during a visit, in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. Ortega is in Havana to attend the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States summit. (AP Photo/Cubadebate, Alex Castro)
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IS ELIMINATING FROM ITS ARCHIVE THIS IMAGE AND SIX MORE OF THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT HANDOUT PHOTOS OF FIDEL CASTRO MEETING WITH LEADERS PARTICIPATING IN A RECENT LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN SUMMIT, AFTER DETERMINING SOME WERE DIGITALLY ALTERED.- In this photo released by Cubadebate, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visits with Cuba's former President Fidel Castro in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. Ban Ki-moon is in Havana to attend the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States summit. (AP Photo/Cubadebate, Alex Castro)
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IS ELIMINATING FROM ITS ARCHIVE THIS IMAGE AND SIX MORE OF THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT HANDOUT PHOTOS OF FIDEL CASTRO MEETING WITH LEADERS PARTICIPATING IN A RECENT LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN SUMMIT, AFTER DETERMINING SOME WERE DIGITALLY ALTERED.- In this photo released by Cubadebate on its website, Jamaica's Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, left, visits with Cuba's former President Fidel Castro in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014. Simpson Miller is in Havana to attend the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States summit. (AP Photo/Cubadebate, Alex Castro)
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IS ELIMINATING FROM ITS ARCHIVE THIS IMAGE AND SIX MORE OF THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT HANDOUT PHOTOS OF FIDEL CASTRO MEETING WITH LEADERS PARTICIPATING IN A RECENT LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN SUMMIT, AFTER DETERMINING SOME WERE DIGITALLY ALTERED.- In this photo released by Cubadebate on its website, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, left, visits with Cuba's former President Fidel Castro in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014. Rousseff is in Havana to attend the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States summit. (AP Photo/Cubadebate, Alex Castro)
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IS ELIMINATING FROM ITS ARCHIVE THIS IMAGE AND SIX MORE OF THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT HANDOUT PHOTOS OF FIDEL CASTRO MEETING WITH LEADERS PARTICIPATING IN A RECENT LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN SUMMIT, AFTER DETERMINING SOME WERE DIGITALLY ALTERED.- In this photo released by Cubadebate on its website, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff visits with Cuba's former President Fidel Castro in Havana, Cuba, in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014. Rousseff is in Havana to attend the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States summit. (AP Photo/Cubadebate, Alex Castro)
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NEW YORK (AP) -- The Associated Press is eliminating from its archive seven Cuban government handout photos of Fidel Castro after determining some were digitally altered to remove what appears to be a hearing aid from the retired leader's ear.

The images in question were released through the government-run Estudios Revolucion, an entity that distributes photos of Cuba's top leadership, during a recent Latin America and Caribbean summit in Havana. They were retransmitted by the AP and other international news organizations to clients around the world.

"We have concluded that a number of official photographs of Fidel Castro were manipulated. Removing elements from a photograph is entirely unacceptable and is in clear violation of AP's standards," said AP vice president and director of photography Santiago Lyon.

The AP informed Cuban officials of its decision regarding the photos, but there was no public reaction or comment.

Under AP standards, photos must depict reality and cannot be manipulated to add or subtract elements that alter that reality. The news agency's policy is to use handout photographs only when there is no other option, and to scrutinize them carefully for possible manipulation.

It was during such screening that photo editors noted an anomaly in a picture that showed Castro meeting with Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa in Havana on Jan. 29.

The AP acquired the original, high-resolution image files from the photographer, Alex Castro, the former leader's son. The original clearly showed a thin wire snaking into Fidel Castro's ear that was missing from the altered photo released through Estudios Revolucion.

The AP did not transmit the Correa photograph or any official photos of Castro handed out subsequent to it to customers. But a review of other handout images, including a photograph of Castro meeting with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, showed similar signs of manipulation. The photo was transmitted by the AP, as well as by other news organizations.

Photographs published as recently as a month earlier showed a thin, transparent device in Castro's ear, believed to be a hearing aid.

Alex Castro has taken most of the pictures of his 87-year-old father that have been released since a near-fatal illness forced him from office in 2006. The younger Castro immediately provided the original unaltered image files when the AP requested them and told the AP he was unaware they had been manipulated prior to their distribution.

His pictures were first submitted to Estudios Revolucion, then redistributed through other official Cuban news outlets.

In addition to eliminating the seven images, the AP is conducting a review of all Cuban handout pictures of Castro from recent years, about 150 images in all.

AP: Fidel Castro handout photos digitally altered
HAVANA, CUBA - JANUARY 08: Fidel Castro, Cuba's former President and revolutionary leader, makes a rare public appearance to attend the inauguration of an art gallery on January 8, 2014 in Havana, Cuba. Castro, who ceded power to his brother Raul Castro in 2008 after falling ill in 2006, has last been seen in public in February 2013 at a National Assembly meeting. The gallery Castro visited is run by Cuban artist Alexis Leyva, aka Kcho. (Photo by Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo/Getty Images)
In this frame grab of video released by Cubavision, Cuba's former President Fidel Castro attends the inauguration of the cultural center, Studio Kcho Romerillo, Laboratory for Art, in Havana, Cuba, late Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. Castro made his first public appearance in nine months after last appearing in public in April 2013, when he attended the inauguration of Havana school. (AP Photo/Cubavision via APTN)
Still grab from a video taken on January 8, 2014 of former Cuban president Fidel Castro (C) and his wife Dalia Soto (L) during the inauguration of the nonprofit cultural centre Kcho Romerillo, Laboratory for Art in Havana. Cuban leader Fidel Castro has appeared in public for the first time in nine months, attending an art gallery opening near his home, the local press reported Thursday. The Cuban leader, who relinquished the presidency to his brother Raul in 2006 due to illness, last appeared in public in April when he opened a Havana school. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read --/AFP/Getty Images)
A screenshot of Cuba's website Cubadebate shows a photo of Fidel Castro with the head of the main Cuban student union Randy Perdomo Garcia in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday Feb. 3, 2015. Cuba has published the first photos of Fidel Castro in five months, showing the 88-year-old former leader engaged in conversation with Perdomo Garcia. A first-person account by the student leader says the meeting took place on Jan. 23. The photos published around midnight on Monday are the first images of the revolutionary leader since a set of photos came out in August showing him talking with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.(AP Photo)
Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro, visiting the U.S., takes a good sized bite of hot dog during a trip to New York's Bronx Zoo April 24, 1959. Hot dogs are not unknown to Cuba, but are not nearly as common as they are in the U.S. (AP Photo/John Lindsay)
Cuban leader Fidel Castro feeds elephants at the Bronx Zoo during a visit to New York City, April 1959. (Photo by Meyer Liebowitz/New York Times/Getty Images)
Fidel Castro, Cuban Premier, meets former baseball star Jackie Robinson at a luncheon of the Overseas Press Club at Hotel Astor in New York, April 23, 1959. The Cuban leader, on a five day visit to New York, has said that he's a baseball fan. Robinson, former Brooklyn Dodger star, is now a New York executive. (AP Photo)
Fidel Castro takes a draw at his long cigar, a special brand he brought along, as he talks with newsmen outside the Cuban Embassy in Washington, April 16, 1959. The 32-year-old Cuban Prime Minister, in Washington on an unofficial visit, is wearing his major's uniform. (AP Photo/William J. Smith)
Vice President Richard Nixon and Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro leave Nixon's office in Washington, D.C., April 19, 1959, after a two hour and 20 minute chat behind closed doors. The meeting had been listed on Castro's program as a 15 minute visit. In answer to a question, Castro said the meeting had been "very friendly." (AP Photo)
News and film photographers line sidewalk as bearded Fidel Castro, Prime Minister of Cuba, right, strides to un headquarters in New York April 22, 1959. He was on his way to visit un Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold. Men with Castro at right are unidentified. (AP Photo/John Lindsay)
Fidel Castro visits New York Fidel Castro waves to crowd outside Statler Hotel. (Photo By: John Duprey/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
Fidel Castro, Cuba's leader shown during a visit to Washington D.C., USA in April 1959. (AP Photo)
Cuban Premier Fidel Castro is pictured at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., April 16, 1959. (AP Photo)
Cuban Premier Fidel Castro places a wreath at the tombs of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, April 20, 1959, as he continues his Washington visit. (AP Photo/Harvey Georges)
Fidel Castro visits New York. Fidel Castro outside Statler Hotel. (Photo By: Dan Farrell/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
Cuba's Premier Fidel Castro and his Foreign Minister, Dr. Raul Roa, tune in the President's speech at United Nations. Later, Castro told reporters he has invited Khrushchev to visit Cuba. (Photo By: Frank Hurley/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 01: During a visit to the United States, Cuban Prime Minister Fidel CASTRO (left) meets with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel NASSER New York before CASTRO's departure for Havana (Cuba). (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
FILE- This Spet. 20, 1960 file photo shows Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, left, and Cuban President Fidel Castro, center, outside the Hotel Theresa in the Harlem neighborhood of New York. Castro was staying at the hotel during his first visit to the United Nations after coming to power. The famed Hotel Theresa closed in 1967. The building where it was located, at 2090 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, was later designated a city landmark and is now an office building. The hotel was called the "Waldorf of Harlem," hosting celebrities from Louis Armstrong to Fidel Castro. (AP Photo/FILE)
**FILE** Cuba's Fidel Castro is escorted by Massachusetts State Police as he walks to an airplane at Logan Airport in Boston, Mass., for a flight to Montreal, Canada, in this April 26, 1959 file photo. The Cuban leader, was in Boston to speak at the Harvard Law School forum last night, was under heavy police guard during his visit as authorities fearedf a possible assassination. The U.S. government believes Castro's health is deteriorating and that the Cuban dictator is unlikely to live through 2007. (AP Photo/File)
Captain Heinrich Lorenz, left, of cruise ship MS Berlin, proposes a toast to the success of Fidel Castro’s government in Cuba, April 15, 1954, Havana, Cuba. Castro visited the North German Lloyd ship after it landed in Havana from New York. (AP Photo)
Construction worker Bernhard Berntsen of Brooklyn greets Cuban Premier Fidel Castro as the latter emerged from a visit at the New York coffee and sugar exchange April 24, 1959. Berntsen, of 1114 84th street, Brooklyn, told Castro he’d done “a good job.” Berntsen said he encouraged Castro with an Old Norwegian expression, “when you’re heading the right way, keep on the right road.” (AP Photo)
Fidel Castro gives speech at New York airport
UNITED STATES - APRIL 01: The new strongman in Cuba, Fidel CASTRO, speaking to American journalists during a press conference in New York. His visit to the United States came soon after his overthrow of BATISTA and his taking power in Cuba (January 1959). He was received by Richard NIXON in Washington on April 15. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
Cuba’s Prime Minister Fidel Castro points up a remark, as he is surrounded by newsmen at a downtown hotel oApril 16, 1959, following a luncheon meeting with Acting Secretary of State Christian Herter. Members of the Cuban revolutionary movement, wearing fatigue hats, are behind the bearded Prime Minister. (AP Photo)
Fidel Castro visits New York. Castro & Dr. Grayson Kirk, pres. of Columbia University. (Photo By: John Duprey/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
A press conference in Fidel Castro?s Havana Office, on June 23, 1961 gives Cuba?s Fidel Castro a chance to make the most of his photogenic face and gestures and he does make the most of it was he point to a finger close to his face, comes up to scratch as he thinks of an answer, and smiles broadly, shaking his cigar-holding hand as he comes up with it. Associated press staff photographer Robert Schitz, who went to Havana for the tractors-for-captives negotiations, also made the most of the conference. (AP Photo/Robert Schultz )
Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro meets with U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, right, at United Nations headquarters in New York, April 22, 1959. At center is Cuba's ambassador to the U.N. Manuel Bisbe. Castro is in New York during his tour of the U.S. (AP Photo/John Rooney)
** FILE ** In this April 1961 file photo, Cuba's leader Fidel Castro jumps from a tank as he arrives at Giron, Cuba, near the Bay Of Pigs. On April 17-19, 1961, the beach was the stage for one of the most memorable chapters in the struggle between Washington and Havana: the invasion of Cuba by a CIA-trained band of armed exiles. Cuba will celebrate on Jan. 1, 2009 the 50th anniversary of the triumph of the revolution. (AP Photo/Bohemia Magazine, File)
Cuba's Fidel Castro, right, speaks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Havana, Cuba, Friday, July 11, 2014. Putin began a Latin American tour aimed at boosting trade and ties in the region with a stop Friday in Cuba, a key Soviet ally during the Cold War that has backed Moscow in its dispute with the West over Ukraine. (AP Photo/Alex Castro)
Cuba's Fidel Castro, right, speaks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin, left, in Havana, Cuba, Friday, July 11, 2014. Putin began a Latin American tour aimed at boosting trade and ties in the region with a stop Friday in Cuba, a key Soviet ally during the Cold War that has backed Moscow in its dispute with the West over Ukraine. (AP Photo/Alex Castro)
Still grab from a video taken on January 8, 2014 of former Cuban president Fidel Castro attending the inauguration of the nonprofit cultural centre Kcho Romerillo, Laboratory for Art in Havana. Cuban leader Fidel Castro has appeared in public for the first time in nine months, attending an art gallery opening near his home, the local press reported Thursday. The Cuban leader, who relinquished the presidency to his brother Raul in 2006 due to illness, last appeared in public in April when he opened a Havana school. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read --/AFP/Getty Images)
Still grab from a video taken on January 8, 2014 of former Cuban president Fidel Castro arrives for the inauguration of the nonprofit cultural centre Kcho Romerillo, Laboratory for Art in Havana. Cuban leader Fidel Castro has appeared in public for the first time in nine months, attending an art gallery opening near his home, the local press reported Thursday. The Cuban leader, who relinquished the presidency to his brother Raul in 2006 due to illness, last appeared in public in April when he opened a Havana school. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read --/AFP/Getty Images)
HAVANA, CUBA - JANUARY 08: Fidel Castro, Cuba's former President and revolutionary leader, looks at the camera during a rare public appearance to attend the inauguration of an art gallery on January 8, 2014 in Havana, Cuba. Castro, who ceded power to his brother Raul Castro in 2008 after falling ill in 2006, has last been seen in public in February 2013 at a National Assembly meeting. The gallery Castro visited is run by Cuban artist Alexis Leyva, aka Kcho. (Photo by Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo/Getty Images)
HAVANA, CUBA - JANUARY 08: Fidel Castro, Cuba's former President and revolutionary leader, looks closely at an art piece during a rare public appearance to attend the inauguration of an art gallery on January 8, 2014 in Havana, Cuba. Castro, who ceded power to his brother Raul Castro in 2008 after falling ill in 2006, has last been seen in public in February 2013 at a National Assembly meeting. The gallery Castro visited is run by Cuban artist Alexis Leyva, aka Kcho. (Photo by Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo/Getty Images)
HAVANA, CUBA - JANUARY 08: Cubans cheer as Fidel Castro leaves after making a rare public appearance attending the inauguration of an art gallery, on January 8, 2014 in Havana, Cuba. Castro, who ceded power to his brother Raul Castro in 2008 after falling ill in 2006, has last been seen in public in February 2013 at a National Assembly meeting. The gallery Castro visited is run by Cuban artist Alexis Leyva, aka Kcho. (Photo by Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo/Getty Images)
HAVANA, CUBA - JANUARY 08: Fidel Castro, Cuba's former President and revolutionary leader, looks closely at an art piece during a rare public appearance to attend the inauguration of an art gallery on January 8, 2014 in Havana, Cuba. Castro, who ceded power to his brother Raul Castro in 2008 after falling ill in 2006, has last been seen in public in February 2013 at a National Assembly meeting. The gallery Castro visited is run by Cuban artist Alexis Leyva, aka Kcho. (Photo by Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo/Getty Images)
HAVANA, CUBA - JANUARY 08: Fidel Castro, Cuba's former President and revolutionary leader, makes a rare public appearance to attend the inauguration of an art gallery on January 8, 2014 in Havana, Cuba. Castro, who ceded power to his brother Raul Castro in 2008 after falling ill in 2006, has last been seen in public in February 2013 at a National Assembly meeting. The gallery Castro visited is run by Cuban artist Alexis Leyva, aka Kcho. (Photo by Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo/Getty Images)
In this photo released by Cubadebate, Cuba's former President Fidel Castro, bottom, back to camera, attends the inauguration of the cultural center, Studio Kcho Romerillo, Laboratory for Art, in Havana, Cuba, late Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. Cuban news media say Castro appeared in public for the first time since April. The official website Cubadebate carried this photo of the event, though it does not show his face. (AP Photo/Cubadebate, Alex Castro)
P 361115 011 16Nov99 Havana, Cuba Fidel Castro Addresses Youth Attendees Of The Ibero-American Summit In Havana (Photo By Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)
Bayamo, CUBA: (FILES) Cuban President Fidel Castro checks the weather by looking at the sky, as he delivers a speech on July 26th, 2006, at the Plaza de la Patria square in Bayamo, in the province of Granma, during a ceremony marking the 53rd anniversary of the assault on the Moncada barracks. Next 26 July, 2007 marks the first anniversary of Fidel Castro falling ill, for what he later underwent intestinal surgery and had to hand over power to his brother Raul. AFP PHOTO/Adalberto ROQUE TO GO WITH AFP STORY (Photo credit should read ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)
Fidel Castro during a news conference in Havana, Aug. 5, 1978. (AP Photo)
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