The UK Mail on Sunday unpublished a photo and added a disclosure that a photo was an “illustration” after a complaint to the UK Press Complaints Commission. The doctored photo was only published online.
The PCC’s report explained that the “illustration” was a doctored photo showing two wind turbines, whereas the “original image” only had one. In defense, the Mail on Sunday argued it was a “dramatic illustration” and not misleading.
The Mail also posted an Oct. 5 statement at the bottom of the Sept. 8 article in question, which reported on wind farms:
“An earlier version of this article showed an image of some countryside in Bedfordshire that appeared to show two wind turbines close to some houses. In fact, this picture was an artist’s production image for an illustration in the magazine and should not have been published. There is only one turbine in that position.”
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Currently with that article, there is a photo of a wind turbine with dramatic storm clouds above that is credited to “Alamy” and identified as a “photomontage.” iMediaEthics asked the Press Complaints Commission if that photo triggered complaints as well. We also asked for confirmation that the since unpublished photo of two wind turbines didn’t include a disclosure to readers that it was doctored. The PCC’s Catherine Speller told iMediaEthics:
“The photograph under complaint was a different version of the photo which is now labelled as a photomontage on the Mail website. The original photograph was not labelled to suggest it had been altered. The newspaper has accepted that it should not have been published in this form.”
iMediaEthics has written to the Mail on Sunday asking why the illustration of the two wind turbines that drew complaints was not originally labeled a photomontage and if the one wind turbine photo currently labeled a photomontage on the Mail’s website was labeled a photomontage from its publication or after the PCC complaint. We’ll update with any response.