· In short: Channel Nine has apologised for using a digitally altered image of Animal Justice Party MP Georgie Purcell, which they claim was "inadvertently altered by Photoshop".
· Ms Purcell says the situation highlights the "insidious" way women are treated, and that while she doesn't buy the explanation she is "willing to move on" following Nine's apology.
· Executive director of the Victorian Women's Trust, Mary Crooks, says the digital alteration is a form of abuse, calling Nine's excuse "unacceptable".
The Victorian MP whose image was digitally altered in a Channel Nine news broadcast has said it should "never happen again", adding she does not entirely "buy" the explanation that an automated edit was to blame.
Channel Nine apologised to Georgie Purcell after the altered image of her was broadcast on its TV news bulletin on Monday.
The Animal Justice Party MP tweeted an image shown on Nine which showed her wearing a midriff-baring top as part of the network's coverage of Victoria's duck hunting issue.
Ms Purcell also posted the original image, which was published in the Bendigo Advertiser, which does not show her midriff.
"Note the enlarged boobs and outfit to be made more revealing," she tweeted.
Ms Purcell said she found the altered image concerning.
"I think male MPs get to endure catastrophic days without having their bodies photoshopped when they're on the nightly news," she told ABC Radio Melbourne.
"I can't imagine that happening to a male politician.
"I wanted to point out the more insidious ways females continue to be treated."
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Nine News apologised to Ms Purcell and said the image was inadvertently altered.
"Our graphics department sourced an online image of Georgie to use in our story on duck hunting," Nine News director Hugh Nailon said in a statement.
"As is common practice, the image was resized to fit our specs. During that process, the automation by Photoshop created an image that was not consistent with the original.
"This did not meet the high editorial standards we have and for that we apologise to Ms Purcell unreservedly."
Nine attributed the error to artificial intelligence and said no staff member was involved in altering the image.
Ms Purcell was elected to the Victorian parliament in November 2022.(ABC News: Emma Field)
An Adobe spokesperson told the ABC that the process would have involved "human intervention".
"Any changes to this image would have required human intervention and approval," the spokesperson said.
Addressing the media on Tuesday afternoon, Ms Purcell said that while she was not an expert in Photoshop, she "didn't buy" Nine News' explanation.
"I don't think there's a single young person that hasn't struggled with their body image, and seeing your own body altered on TV is very confronting," Ms Purcell said.
"I'm not an expert in Photoshop … I'm not sure if I buy it, but I am satisfied with every other way they've handled this scenario and am willing to move on.
"This has affected me in some way, and it could affect other women even more. It should never happen again."
Ms Purcell said that her response to the error has exacerbated "awful" comments directed at the MP online.
Executive director of the Victorian Women's Trust Mary Crooks said Channel Nine's excuse was "not acceptable".
"It's not just a photoshopped image, it's a form of abuse … it's invasive of a woman's privacy and it's ultimately demeaning," Ms Crooks said.
"Anybody who assumes that the increasing use of AI is unproblematic has their head in the sand."
Ms Crooks says the capabilities of AI as evidenced by the altered image could be a forewarning of "troubling times ahead".
"Sure, these forms of technology have always got their advantages but they also have a pretty devastating flip-side.
"I think we're on the verge of a tsunami in terms of the way that women are coming under attack … by use of this kind of technology."
Premier Jacinta Allan said it was not an appropriate way to treat Ms Purcell.
"I would be really concerned to hear that that has happened because that's no way to represent any woman let alone a woman who holds a position in public office," she said.
"Let's think about the image that sends particularly to young women."