Press Complaints Commission
spacer spacer
SEARCH FOR     Or try the cases search  
Cases Banner
Making a complaint
Code of Practice Information
Code Advice

Complainant Name:
Mr & Mrs Donald

Clauses Noted: 6

Publication: Hello!


Mr and Mrs Donald of London W9 complained that photographs of their son published in Hello! Magazine on 18 July 2000 intruded into their sons privacy in breach of Clause 6 (Children) of the Code of Practice.

The complaint was not upheld.

Mrs Donalds sister is a well-known fashion designer who was photographed in the street along with her boyfriend and young nephew, the complainants son, who was sitting in a push-chair. The accompanying article identified the child by his Christian name only.

The complainants said that the photographs were taken without their permission. They said that their sons welfare could be damaged as photographers would be encouraged to take photographs of him if publications were permitted under the Code to publish them. The complainants added that they had never sought publicity for themselves or their family.

The editor replied that she understood Clause 6 to be designed to protect the welfare of children under 16 in order to ensure that matters which are inherently about the private life of a child are not reported. She said that the photographs of the boy - which were taken on a public street - could not reasonably be held to embarrass the boy, interrupt his schooling or damage his welfare in any other way. She therefore denied that the Code had been breached as consent was not required to publish photographs which did not affect the boys welfare.

Not Upheld


Clause 6 of the Code does not require editors to seek consent from those responsible for children before publishing any photograph of a child under the age of 16. If the Code was interpreted in this highly restrictive manner it would mean that no pictures of children, no matter how innocuous, could be published without consent. That is clearly not what the Code is intended to do. Instead, the Code requires editors to seek such consent before interviewing or photographing children under the age of 16 on subjects involving the welfare of the child. As the photographs were clearly taken in a public place the Commissions task was to consider only whether the photographs involved or affected the welfare of the child. The Commission concluded that they did not. The mere publication of a childs image, unaccompanied by details of its private life, when he or she is in a public place could not be held by the Commission to breach the Code. The photographs did not concern matters that could genuinely be considered to concern the childs private life or affect his welfare and while the Commission understood and appreciated the complainants desire to protect their sons privacy it could not, for the reasons outlined above, uphold the complaint.


<< Go Back
Home ] Cases ] Site map ]