Complaint upheld against YEP over use of photographs

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A man complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Yorkshire Evening Post breached Clause 2 (Privacy) and Clause 6 (Children) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Fundraiser for the family of ‘amazing’ Alexis, published on 9 March 2019.

The article reported that a fundraising event was being organised in memory of a local woman who had recently died, to raise money to take her two children on holiday. The article included two un-pixelated photographs of the woman and her children.

The complainant, the woman’s former partner and the children’s father, said that the photographs of his children had been published without his consent.

The publication expressed its condolences to the complainant and his family, and apologised for any distress caused.

It said that it had been contacted by the children’s grandmother, who wanted to raise awareness of the fundraising efforts. She had spoken to the journalist, who had asked whether she could provide any photographs of her daughter and grandchildren. She had directed the journalist to her daughter’s partner, who had provided the photographs for publication.

The newspaper said that the photographs had been published in good faith; modern families were complicated and it had no reason to believe that the person who provided the photographs was not in a position to consent to their publication.

Nonetheless, it said that on learning of the complainant’s concerns, the online article was amended to remove the photographs of the children, and the editor and reporter met the complainant to discuss his concerns.

The article was about the death of the children’s mother.

This was an issue which related to their welfare. Despite the newspaper intending the article to assist the children, it was clear that the newspaper had not undertaken any inquiries into who had custodial responsibility for the children.

The photos had therefore been published without the consent of a custodial parent. There was a breach of Clause 6 and the complaint was upheld.