World Press Photo says it has confirmed the veracity of an award-winning photograph of a Gaza funeral.

Bloggers had raised doubts earlier this week about the veracity of Paul Hansen’s photograph, claiming the winner of the World Press Photo of the Year 2012 had significantly altered the original image.

But following an investigation by  Dartmouth computer science professor Hany Farid and Kevin Connor, CEO of Fourandsix Technologies, WPP said the image had been confirmed as authentic.

“We have reviewed the RAW image, as supplied by World Press Photo, and the resulting published JPEG image,” Farid and Connor concluded, according to a statement posted on WPP’s website Tuesday. “It is clear that the published photo was retouched with respect to both global and local color and tone. Beyond this, however, we find no evidence of significant photo manipulation or compositing.”

Another photography expert, Eduard de Kam, also claimed to have examined the raw files and came to the same conclusion.

Doubts were  raised about Hansen’s photograph on Sunday when Neil Krawetz, author of The Hacker Factor Blog, published a detailed analysis of the image and concluded that Hansen’s photograph was probably a composite of several he had taken of the scene.

On Monday, Sebastian Anthony, writing on the website Extreme Tech, further explained how Hansen had manipulated the image.

Hansen was named winner of the World Press Photo competition in February for a picture of a funeral in Gaza taken in November. The picture, which shows a group of weeping men carrying two children’s bodies through an alley, has a luminescent, almost cinematic quality that raised questions about the acceptable limits of digital touch-ups of news photographs.

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