“Ennahar reaffirms that the photograph was found on internet sites and on Facebook, and that the newspaper had no need to doctor a photo to defend the Prophet and Islam,” it said in a statement received.
The US embassy in Algiers on Thursday sought a retraction from the newspaper and categorically denied that murdered envoy Chris Stevens had any connection with “the reprehensible and disgusting film… or the men behind them”.
It described the photograph published by Ennahar that purported to show Stevens with the movie’s producer Sam Bacile and pro-Israel French philosopher Bernard-Henry Levy as “doctored”.
The embassy also said the accompanying article was “fictitious”.
Stevens was killed with three other Americans in an assault by an angry mob last week on the US consulate in Libya’s second city
Benghazi, during unrest in the Arab world sparked by a trailer of the film that was posted on YouTube.
The Arabic-language daily said “the purpose of this photo was to inform and not to attack the memory of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was the victim of a cowardly assassination that the newspaper has condemned”.
It also said its technicians were sure that the image was not doctored.
The US embassy urged Ennahar to retract Thursday’s article and photo and “not spread rumours that may result in misunderstanding and a violent reaction”.
Contacted by AFP by telephone, Ennahar director Anis Rahmani insisted that Ennahar never used “lies or trickery to defend the cause of our Prophet”.
But he later confirmed that the controversial article had been removed from the publication’s online edition.
The popular Algerian daily has in the past been accused of sensationalism and inaccurate reporting.AFP