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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 October 2007, 00:08 GMT 01:08 UK
Italy bans 'No Anorexia' poster
'No Anorexia' billboard in Italy
Anorexic French actress Isabelle Caro appeared in the campaign
Italy's advertising watchdog has banned an ad campaign for a fashion label showing a naked anorexic woman, saying it breached its code of conduct.

The image "commercially exploited" the illness, the advertising body said.

The image, bearing the words "No Anorexia", was first displayed during Milan Fashion Week in September.

It was shot by controversial Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani, who called the ban "censorship" and said he was considering legal action.

Mr Toscani - who created advertising campaigns for Italian fashion label Benetton from 1982 to 2000 - once photographed a man dying of Aids for a Benetton campaign.

'Human dignity'

The image showing anorexic French actress Isabelle Caro, for Italian fashion label Nolita, was published in newspapers and featured on billboards during fashion week.

The photo is shocking for everyone, particularly those who are sick, and has been set up for commercial ends
Giorgio Floridia
IAP president

Most of the billboards have already been removed, but one remains in Rome.

The Publicity Control Institute (IAP) ruled that the image breached articles one and 10 of its code of conduct.

Article one states that advertising must be "honest, truthful and accurate. It must avoid anything that could discredit it".

Article 10 states that advertising must not offend "moral, civic and religious" beliefs and must "respect human dignity in all its forms and expressions".

"The photo is shocking for everyone, particularly those who are sick, and has been set up for commercial ends," IAP President Giorgio Floridia told AFP news agency.

Last month, France's advertising watchdog, the Advertising Verification Bureau (BVP) also ruled that the image breached its code of conduct.

But during Milan fashion week, Italian health minister Livia Turco backed the billboard, saying it could "promote responsibility towards the problem of anorexia".

The photographer, Mr Toscani, told Reuters news agency he was considering seeking "moral and economic" damages.

"The health minister said the campaign went well," he said.

"Who should I listen to - the health minister or a private justice corporation? It is late when the campaign is already done."

The advertising campaign came amid a debate among fashion circles on the use of "ultra-skinny" models on the catwalk.

Last year, Madrid fashion week organisers banned ultra-skinny models, while Milan has required medical certificates for under-weight models since February.

Reaction to the campaign after its launch

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08 Aug 07 |  Magazine
Milan fashion diary
21 Feb 07 |  Europe
Brazil weighs in on skinny models
27 Jan 07 |  Americas
Madrid bans waifs from catwalks
13 Sep 06 |  Europe

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