The Press Information Bureau of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting issued a statement on Friday regretting the 'inconvenience caused' by the 'merging of two pictures' it had shared a day earlier of Prime Minister Modi visiting flood-hit areas of Chennai.
"Pictures of Hon'ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi undertaking the aerial survey of flood affected areas of Tamil Nadu were released on PIB Twitter Handle and PIB's website last evening," the statement read.
"Out of the seven pictures released, one picture used the technique of merging two pictures. This is being referred to as "Photoshopping" in sections of media. This happened due to error of judgement and the picture was subsequently deleted. PIB regrets the release of the above mentioned picture. Inconvenience caused is regretted," the statement concluded.
PM Modi made an aerial survey of the flood hit areas of Chennai, and announced an immediate release of Rs. 1,000 crore for relief and rehabilitation works in Tamil Nadu. The whole effort was turned into a bit of a fiasco by the Press Information Bureau, which crudely altered the picture of the Prime Minister, to show the flooded city below.
A screenshot of the altered image is still circulating on Twitter, though the post was later deleted. You can see the fresh post from the PIB showing the actual image of PM Modi along with a shot of the city.
Even in the actual image, you can tell that the PM is flying over an area with a lot of water in it, but this isn't extremely clear, which perhaps led someone in the PIB to think that editing the image was the answer. The result, unfortunately, looked hilariously unrealistic, and ended up being shared widely on social media, including garnering tweets from notable figures such as former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
The decision to alter the image is strange and hard to understand considering that PM Modi was actually on the spot, and making announcements that were of material importance. The scenario in Chennai is serious enough, and even private companies are doing their bit to help - telcos are offering free calls and data, while Google has created a resource page and Facebook has set up its Safety Check feature, and various startups have also made various efforts to help.
PM Modi's visit is similarly making a difference - bad image editing is hardly required to drive home the point.