Ruling

13821-16 Lloyd v Sunday Mirror

    • Date complaint received

      20th April 2017

    • Outcome

      No breach - after investigation

    • Code provisions

      2 Privacy, 6 Children

Decision of the Complaints Committee 13821-16 Lloyd v Sunday Mirror

Summary of Complaint

1. Maxeen Lloyd complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Sunday Mirror breached Clause 2 (Privacy) and Clause 6 (Children) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Do I not like this”, published on 27 November 2016.

2. The article reported Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola’s defence of Raheem Sterling after the Burnley crowd had singled him out for criticism. The article was accompanied by a photograph of the footballer in front of a group of Burnley supporters during the game. A number of the supporters, which consisted of both adults and children, were making offensive hand gestures in the footballer’s direction.

3. The complainant said that her son, who was not making gestures at the footballer, appeared in the photograph in question. She said that the newspaper did not know anything about her son; she said that he could have been adopted, or under child protection, and in such circumstances, the photograph should not have been published. She also said that because of the behaviour of the other children, their faces should have been pixelated. She said that both she and her son were upset by people’s remarks about the photograph after it was published on a number of internet forums. 

4. The newspaper denied that it had breached the Code. It said that the photograph showed the complainant’s son in a crowd at a football match, which was a public place where press photographers were known to be present. It said that the photograph did not single out the complainant’s son as being involved in bad behaviour, and that it would be disproportionate to pick out individual members of a crowd to pixelate where others had been involved in “disrespectful” behaviour. It also said that the photograph did not, under the terms of Clause 6, involve an issue relating to her son’s welfare; as a result, it said that no parental consent was required to take or publish the photograph.

Relevant Code Provisions

5. Clause 2 (Privacy)

i) Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communications.

ii) Editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual's private life without consent. Account will be taken of the complainant's own public disclosures of information.

iii) It is unacceptable to photograph individuals, without their consent, in public or private places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Clause 6 (Children)

i) All pupils should be free to complete their time at school without unnecessary intrusion.

ii) They must not be approached or photographed at school without permission of the school authorities.

iii) Children under 16 must not be interviewed or photographed on issues involving their own or must not be approached or photographed at school without permission of the school authorities another child’s welfare unless a custodial parent or similarly responsible adult consents.

iv) Children under 16 must not be paid for material involving their welfare, nor parents or guardians for material about their children or wards, unless it is clearly in the child's interest.

v) Editors must not use the fame, notoriety or position of a parent or guardian as sole justification for publishing details of a child's private life.

Findings of the Committee

6. The complainant's son was not named in the article, but he was photographed at a Premier League football match, an event with photographers, television cameras and thousands of spectators present. While the complainant did not provide her express consent to her son being photographed, he was present at a  high-profile sporting event where he would have been seen by a large number of people, and in circumstances where the complainant would have been aware of the possibility that her son might be photographed by press photographers, or appear on television. In these circumstances, her son had no reasonable expectation of privacy; there was no breach Clause 2.

7. The photograph was a group shot of supporters at a football match. The subject of the photograph were the adults and children making offensive gestures towards the footballer, and not the complainant’s son, whose inclusion was incidental. In such circumstances, the Committee did not consider that the photograph involved an issue involving his welfare. Further, while the Committee noted the complainant’s position that the comments made on internet forums following republication of the photograph caused an intrusion into her son’s life, the Committee did not consider that the publication of the photograph by the newspaper caused any intrusion such as to breach Clause 6 (i).

Conclusions

8.The complaint was not upheld.

Remedial Action Required

9. N/A

Date complained received: 05/12/2016
Date decision issued: 31/03/2017