Guidelines for Digital Manipulation

A Statement of Principle on Digital Manipulation from the National Press Photographers Association:

As journalists we believe the guiding principle of our profession is accuracy; therefore it is wrong to alter the content of a photograph in any was that deceives the public.


As photojournalists, we have the responsibility to document society and to preserve its images as a matter of historical record. It is clear that the emerging electronic technologies provide new challenges to the integrity of photographic images. This technology enables the manipulation of the content of an image in such a way that the change is virtually undetectable. In light of this, we, the National Press Photographers Association, reaffirm the basis of our ethics: Accurate representation is the benchmark of our profession.


We believe photojournalistic guidelines for fair and accurate reporting should be the criteria for judging what may be done electronically to a photograph. Altering the editorial content of a photograph, in any degree, is a breach of the ethical standards recognized by the NPPA.


Drafted November 12, 1990, at the 2nd Annual Electronic Photojournalism Workshop, Tempe, AZ, and revised July 2, 1991, by the board of directors at the 46th Annual NPPA Convention, Arlington, VA.