Two international news agencies are at the centre of a row over self-censorship after withdrawing an unflattering photograph of the French president, François Hollande. Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Reuters were subjected to criticism and widespread ridicule on the internet and social media sites after deciding to pull the picture.
The photograph was taken when Hollande visited a school in Denain in northern France where he was presiding over a round-table discussion on recent reforms that changed school hours.
It coincided with the start of the new school term for the majority of French schoolchildren. He is pictured sitting in front of a blackboard, on which is written “Aujourd’hui, c’est la rentrée” (“Today it’s back to school”) with a wide grin and rather gormless facial expression.
The original picture was captioned: “During a visit to Denain Michelet school, September 3 2013, François Hollande smiles chairing a panel discussion on the reform of school timetables established by the government.”