Barricades on rue Saint-Maur (1848), the first photo used to illustrate a newspaper story

Press release

For immediate release – Dec. 4, 2023

Photojournalism and AI: A Call For New Ethical Guidelines For Technology in News Images

What the world calls “photography” has been revolutionized by digital technology. Today, two centuries since the first photograph was captured, millions of images are taken every day by tiny cameras inside our smartphones, with the possibility to be instantly shared around the world. 

Still, the essence remains the same: photographs capture authentic images of the real world, whether it’s a family vacation, a World Cup goal or scenes of war.  

We also know that since the birth of photography, there has always been both the will and means to modify images, whether by manipulating film or altering digital files. From the arts to political propaganda, we all know that certain fixed images we see are not the true representation of reality.

For those of us who work in journalism, news and information, it is important to be clear that images that are not the authentic capture of reality are in fact not what we consider photographs — and should never be used to illustrate events that we cover. 

Since the beginning of the shift to digital, debate has accelerated about the role of technology in altering visual images. Software allows for relatively fast and easy adjustments of resolution, clarity, contrasts, and the like. Editors and journalistic ethics professionals have worked to delineate certain basic limits: none of the adjustments can alter the essential content of the photography. When you turn a criminal suspect’s face darker, when you remove the second watch of a soldier waving a flag, these images become fakes. They undermine the credibility of everything around them. 

As European leaders in news and photojournalism, we are firmly convinced that such images cannot be called photographs.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen technology spark a flood of fake news, including visual deep fakes, to help further fuel the declining trust of media. Yet 2023 was the year that digital tools became “turbo-charged,” easy-to-use and widely available with the help of Artificial Intelligence. The release of ChatGPT exactly one year ago has been the effective starting point of what should be a commitment to renew and revise the news industry’s ethical standards in the face of the advances of AI. We believe that is particularly important for photojournalism.

We believe that technology should never be simply dismissed, but rather harnessed to improve the quality and efficiency of our work. But we also believe that there must be clear limits on their use. And AI requires that we begin to set those limits now. 

This message is a call to all photo agencies, photojournalists and news organizations to clearly and firmly state that they will never use or distribute AI-generated images purporting to be photographs. We value the right to inform and to be informed with a commitment to work in good faith to capture an accurate reflection of our world. 

We believe this moment is an opportunity to bring the industry together to establish a universal charter of ethics for news photography in the digital age. 

This message is co-signed by Pix.T consortium members: 

Contrasto – CTK – NOOR Images – PAP – Worldcrunch 

Pix.T : 

Pix.T is a blockchain-backed technology to drive a new digital economy for professional photography and visual storytelling. Bringing together leading technologists with photojournalists, visual creatives, international media and art market leaders, Pix.T aims to maximize the value of photographic work, ensure control and ethical practices for creators and find new market opportunities for the industry.

Contrasto :

The photographers we represent, in addition to a close contact with the media and cultural world, allow Contrasto to play a leading role in the field of author photography.

The network of international partner agencies enriches a wide range of activities: archives, production and distribution of the highest quality photographic content for journalism, for the fashion and publishing industry, corporate communication projects and advertising for companies and institutions.

CTK : 

Czech News Agency is a public corporation established by law. CTK is the biggest newsagency in the country, providing its customers with full multimedia wire service as well as special and individual services. CTK is not subsidized by the state and it is politically and financially independent. CTK´s motto is: speed – reliability – independence.

CTK is the owner of Profimedia and its technological subsidiary Solwee, one of the largest photo platforms in Europe delivering pictures from more than 350 sources to markets in Central and Eastern Europe.


NOOR is a global, multilingual collective of highly accomplished journalists, authors, photographers, artists and filmmakers documenting, investigating and witnessing our world. Since our foundation in 2007, we have become industry leaders, producing images for large media companies and small startups, institutional clients and non-profits. We also teach, host workshops and public programs around photography, media literacy and representation. And while the content of our work is broad, it is unified in our desire to connect the dots around critical issues such as climate change, over consumption, forced migration, the rise of authoritarianism, the injustices of patriarchy and the power of art and music to keep us human.

PAP : 

Polish Press Agency is a state-owned public corporation, established by law. PAP is the biggest news agency in Poland, providing the major media organizations with general news, financial and lifestyle text wire services, as well as photo service (ca. 2000 pictures daily, including pictures taken by 57 PAP’s photographers in Poland and pictures of European Pressphoto Agency from around the world). PAP provides also photo archive (17 million pictures), videos, infographics, and commercial services (newswires, content marketing and distribution) for companies and institutions.

Worldcrunch : 

Worldcrunch is a Paris-based digital magazine which delivers the best international journalism in English for the first time, by working in partnership with the world’s top media sources (Die Welt, Les Echos, Jeune Afrique, Kommersant, 端傳媒; El Espectador and 25+ others) and a team of multilingual journalists and translators to publish exclusive reportage and provide a uniquely global view of events.


Benjamin Sabbah – CEO Worldcrunch and Pix.T project director:

For more information: – Worldcrunch

Follow up on social media: 

Instagram : 

Twitter : 

LinkedIn :

Facebook : 


Stay in touch

We imagine a future where photographs, illustrations, infographics, video content and more will be both secure and flexible, open and profitable, widely seen and always traceable.

They are pillars of a whole new economy that will change how we consume stories (and sustain storytellers) in the quest for a more fruitful and equitable digital ecosystem. Will you join us?

You may also like

Press Release

For Immediate Release – Feb. 21, 2024 Pix.T’s Image Verification Tool Launches On Leading European News Organisation, CTK PARIS – Pix.T, the European digital platform for the future of professional

Read this article