Hugh Pickens writes "The Atlantic reports that the Israeli parliament has passed legislation that prohibits fashion media and advertising with models who fall below the World Health Organization's standard for malnutrition banning underweight models as determined by Body Mass Index. The new law also stipulates that any ad which uses airbrushing, computer editing, or any other form of Photoshop editing to create a slimmer model must clearly state that fact. Advertising campaigns created outside of Israel must comply with the legislation's standards in order to appear in Israel. 'I realized that only legislation can change the situation,' says Rachel Adato, an Israeli parliament member with a background in medicine. 'There was no time to educate so many people, and the change had be forced on the industry. There was no time to waste, so many girls were dieting to death.' The measure has been controversial within Israel for raising the question of where free speech bumps up against the fashion industry's responsibility — and its possible harm — to its customers' psychological well-being. Donald Downs, a professor at the University of Wisconsin and an expert on the First Amendment, says that it would be very tough to pass something like Israel's law in the US Congress. 'In the US, it would be hard to justify this type of law on either legal or normative policy grounds,' says Downs. 'The Israeli law is paternalistic in that it prohibits something because of the effect it might have on others in the longer term.'"
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