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Complainant Name:
Mr T A Scott

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Daily Mirror


Mr T A Scott of Coleford, Gloucestershire, complained that on 15 May 1996 the Daily Mirror published a photograph of his daughter which had been altered without his consent inaccurately to present her features, in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code of Practice.

The complainant's daughter had been featured in several regional and national articles, being a two year old child suffering from Moebius Syndrome which means she cannot smile openly. She is currently undergoing treatment by psychotherapists. The newspaper published a photograph of the girl. In an insert on the same page it republished part of the same photograph showing her face, having altered her mouth to produce a smile.



The Commission noted that the newspaper had made no contact with the complainant prior to publication. The complainant and his wife were deeply hurt at the alteration of their daughter's features and felt the newspaper had defaced a photograph of a loving child who, through no fault of her own, could not smile openly like other children.

The Commission noted that the editor had apologised for any distress caused and had explained that the newspaper's intention had been to treat the story in a sympathetic and optimistic way. The newspaper had also offered to interview the complainant for a further feature. Nevertheless the Commission took the view that this could not excuse the newspaper's lack of sensitivity and its failure to approach the child's parents before making a wholly unnecessary alteration to the photograph.

The complaint was upheld.


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