French news agency AFP has been under severe criticism after withdrawing an unflattering picture of French President Francois Hollande that was deemed too unflattering.
The picture (shown above) was taken during Hollande’s visit to a school in Denain, northern France. It shows the President Francois Hollande smiling as he chairs a round table discussion on the changes in the school timetable set out by the government.
The sentence on the blackboard reads "Today, it is the start of the new school year".
However AFP clarified in their blog that: “AFP was accused of censorship and of having tried to suppress the photo on the direct order of the presidential office. This was not the case.
“Having said that, with the benefit of hindsight we see that the decision to retract the photo was clearly an error.
However, let it be said, that it is just a picture. Yes we agree, it’s an unflattering one, but then, it would have just add to the President’s human appeal. We all can relate to several times in our lives that we are caught at an odd moment or an unflattering angle by the cruel camera lens.
Yes he is a head of state and whoever took the picture should have used the good sense God gave him not to put up a less than flattering photo of a leader. But it is done. In matter of hours, not even days, people would have forgotten about it and moved on. Now, however, they will most probably go online just for the sake of looking for that one picture, displaying it, forwarding it, talking about it and in general, making it a bigger deal than it actually is!
In short, the first mistake was publishing the photo, but the second and bigger mistake was removing it.
But anyway, we actually think this photo is quite cute in a goofy kind of a way. It shows Hollande caught in a peculiar moment, an experience we all can relate to!