The case against the two newspapers was brought by the mother of a primary school child, who had been on a school trip when the bus she was travelling on crashed into a railway bridge, the PCC reports.
"A photograph published by the two newspapers showed the complainant's daughter and other children being comforted by a policeman at the scene of the accident. The complainant said that the appearance of the image, which was taken and published without her consent, had caused her daughter further upset."
The PCC has found in favour of the complainant, arguing that Clause 6 of the Editors' Code of Practice had been breached. "There was no doubt that the close-up photograph of the complainant's daughter related to her welfare," says the PCC. "It was also not disputed that the image had been taken and published without parental consent. As a result, there was a breach of the Code and, while 'there may be occasions where the scale and gravity of the circumstances can mean that [such material] can be published in the public interest without consent', on this occasion, the Commission judged the newspapers to be 'just the wrong side of the line'."
Both newspapers had argued that they had considered whether or not to publish the photograph very carefully, but that ultimately, they believed it to be justified in the public interest.
But, PCC director Stephen Abell says, the Code of Practice "makes clear that a child under 16 must not be interviewed or photographed on issues involving their own or another child's welfare unless a custodial parent or similarly responsible adult consents."
He adds: "The Commission's ruling sends an important reminder to editors of the exceptionally high standards which the Commission expects when reporting stories related to children."
Most Popular Articles
Updating your subscription status
We have a vacancy for a Key Account Manager working on The British Journal of Photography
Magnet Harlequin, one of the UK's leading Creative Production Agencies is seeking a new Head of Photography.
We have opportunities for two experienced photographic, audio or video technicians.