Minggu, 11 April 2021

Cambodia condemns VICE for images by artist who added smiles to Khmer Rouge victims - ABC News

Cambodia called on US media group VICE to withdraw an article featuring newly colourised photos of the Khmer Rouge "killing fields" victims, saying the images were an insult to the dead because some mugshots had been altered to add smiles.

The article later was no longer available on the website.

In the article published on Friday, artist Matt Loughrey said his project to colourise images from the notorious Tuol Sleng prison, or S-21, aimed to humanise the 14,000 Cambodians executed and tortured there.

However, the article caused a backlash on social media after comparisons with the original black-and-white photos showed that some subjects were smiling only in Loughrey's colour images.


The VICE article did not contain the original images.

"To play around by using technology to put make-up on the victims of S21 is a very grave insult to the souls of the victims of #genocide," exiled Cambodian politician Mu Sochua wrote on Twitter.

Cambodia's Ministry of Culture issued a statement calling on Mr Loughrey and VICE to remove the images.

"We urge researchers, artists and the public not to manipulate any historical source, to respect the victims," the ministry said.

Mr Loughrey, who in the VICE interview said he had worked with victims' families to restore the photos, declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

In an editorial statement posted to, the outlet said that the article "included photographs of Khmer Rouge victims that Loughrey manipulated beyond colourisation".

"The story did not meet the editorial standards of VICE and has been removed. We regret the error and will investigate how this failure of the editorial process occurred."

Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, compared the alterations to rewriting history.

An online petition demanding the article be removed gained thousands of signatures.

At least 1.7 million Cambodians died in the extremist Khmer Rouge's reign of terror in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979.


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2021-04-11 21:21:21Z

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