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Complainant Name:
Ms Elaine Johnson

Clauses Noted: 1, 6

Publication: Kent & Sussex Courier


Ms Elaine Johnson of Southborough complained that an article about underage drinking had been illustrated with a picture of her fifteen-year old son and his friends, which had been published without permission. While her son's face had been pixellated in the print version of the newspaper, it had not been in an online version of the photograph, which was for sale. In any case, he was recognisable by his clothes. The complainant considered that the positioning of the photograph implied inaccurately that her son had been drinking, which he had not.


The editor apologised that the photograph had been available for sale on line, and indicated that he had tightened the newspaper's procedures to ensure that such a situation did not arise again. While he did not accept that the use of the photograph breached the Code, the editor offered to publish the following clarification:

Our report on August 14th about underage drinking in Tunbridge Wells (Underage drinking: worst town problem) was accompanied by a photograph of young people gathered at Wellington Rocks.

It was not suggested that those pictured were drinking alcohol but we have been asked to make clear that they were not in fact engaged in any underage drinking. We are happy to make the position clear.

While the complainant had ongoing concerns about the use of the photograph to accompany the article, she accepted the newspaper's apology and the publication of the clarification as a resolution to her complaint.

Report: 79

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