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September 24, 2009

French politicians want Photoshop warning

Posted: 11:10 AM ET

A new law that would require airbrushed images to contain a disclaimer is gaining popularity in the French Parliament, according to the Telegraph.

An advertisement Photoshop Disasters claims is overly manipulated.

An advertisement Photoshop Disasters claims is overly manipulated.

Politicians who support the law claim digitally enhanced images portraying unrealistic beauty are to blame for body and self esteem issues in adolescents.

Campaigning MP Valerie Boyer released a statement with the bill saying:

These photos can lead people to believe in a reality that does not actually exist, and have a detrimental effect on adolescents. Many young people, particularly girls, do not know the difference between the virtual and reality, and can develop complexes from a very young age.

Boyer is joined by 50 other French politicians who support the required text, which would read "Photograph retouched to modify the physical appearance of a person."

Violations could carry costly penalties. Boyer is asking for a fine of over $50,000 or up to half of the cost of the publicity campaign, whichever is greater, for advertisers that break the law.

The law has only been proposed in France, but magazines around the world are filled with 'Photoshopped' images of slim and sexy models.

Ars Technica asks:

Clearly, there's a line somewhere between reality and fantasy when it comes to images in the media, and the widespread practice of Photoshoppery has only helped to blur that line. Still, do airbrushed images really require an Surgeon-General-like warning?

Would a similar requirement on images in the U.S. help adolescents maintain a realistic body image? Or would the disclaimer serve only to irritate publishers and advertisers?

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Filed under: Internet • online news • Politics

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