Clauses Noted: 6
Mrs F Caldin of Hertfordshire complained that a photograph of her children which accompanied an article headlined "Sex, lies and corner caffs" published in Chat magazine on December 23 1998 appeared in breach of Clause 6 (Children) of the Code of Practice.
The complaint was upheld.
The article, clearly positioned as a reader's story, detailed the breakdown of the marriage of the complainant's parents-in-law from her mother-in-law's point of view. The photograph showed the children with their grandfather and even though it was two years old the complainant said that her children were still clearly identifiable. The complainant had not given permission for the photograph to be published and her nine year old daughter had been embarrassed by remarks made at her school.
The complainant had immediately contacted the magazine who replied to her after some weeks with the assertion that the children's interests had not 'remotely' been damaged. The assistant editor said that it was 'mere coincidence' that the photograph included the children and pointed out that the children's names had not been included. In his submission to the Commission he questioned whether Clause 6 of the Code could apply as the article was not about the children or their welfare.
The Commission was not satisfied with the magazine's justification and considered that such a complaint should have been resolved at an early stage. There had been no parental consent for the use of the photograph and its publication had embarrassed a nine year old child who had nothing to do with the subject of the article with which she should clearly not have been associated. As the magazine had provided no defence of exceptional public interest or of consent the Commission had no hesitation in upholding the complaint.
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