London, September 26 : Journalists associated with a French magazine have been enraged by a picture featuring President Nicolas Sarkozy sporting a "third leg" as he stands next to his wife Carla and Pope Benedict XVI, after a meeting at the Elysee palace on September 12.
It was due to a hastily touched up photoshop edit that the head of Sarkozy's bodyguard had been airbrushed out of the frame, but his leg forgotten.
Unionists at Paris Match magazine have criticised the bungled edit.
"The alteration of photos deforms reality and should be strictly forbidden," the Telegraph quoted the SDJ union as saying.
"New technologies that enable the manipulation of images make the line separating fact from fiction even more tenuous," it added.
The journal's management blamed photographer, Pascal Rostain, who is often chosen by the Elysee to cover the presidential couple, for the blunder.
"If we had known, we would not have published it," said Guillaume Clavieres, chief photo editor at the weekly magazine.
Rostain has apologised for his "enormous error".
He said that it was his "personal decision" to apologise.
"I should have warned Match, but not just them, as I sent the reportage to 22 countries," he said.
He also slammed the "hypocrisy" surrounding reworked photos, saying: "Since the dawn of the digital age, photos are obviously touched up. We make our photos more aesthetic."