London: Egypt`s state-run newspaper, Al-Ahram, has come under fire for doctoring a photograph to suggest that President Hosni Mubarak had led US President Barack Obama and other Middle East leaders into historic peace talks in the White House earlier this month.
The picture showed the Egyptian President striding ahead of Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on a red carpet at the White House.
But checks revealed that the image had been digitally altered to place Mubarak at the head of the powerful pack, while he was actually trailing behind them in the original picture, the Sun reported.
White House officials re-issued the original photograph taken on September 01 to expose the deception after an outcry from Egyptian opposition groups.
The article heaped further embarrassment on Mubarak because it was headlined "The Way to Sharm el-Sheikh" suggesting he had led opposing sides to groundbreaking talks at the Egyptian port city.
"This is what the corrupt regime`s media has been reduced to" adding the Mubarak regime had "crossed the line from being balanced and honest", said an opposition April 06 Youth Movement spokesman.
The newspaper has declined to comment.
Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid an official visit to Egypt to mediate the second round of negotiations between Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
The meeting marked the start of a process expected to last around a year after the ceremonial launch in Washington where the red carpet picture was taken.
The negotiations are the first direct talks between the two sides in nearly two years.