Kenya’s The Nation has used the same photo of an 18-year-old woman taking a drunken driving test numerous times to accompany stories on alcohol and drunken driving.
The woman, who, by the way, passed the test, got fed up with the re-use of her photo linking her to drunk-driving stories. Now, the Nation’s public editor, Peter Mwaura, has called upon the paper to stop using the picture and unpublish it from previous publications because it isn’t in the public interest. Mwaura refers to it as the Miss Soba case.
“In this case, the privacy rights and reputation of Miss Soba outweigh the public right to know and media freedom of the media,” he wrote.
While the Nation’s editorial policy doesn’t advise on how to handle unpublishing, Mwaura wrote that unpublishing requests “have been increasing over the years.” For his part, he argued, “Stories can be unpublished if, among other circumstances, there are compelling legal reasons, such as if the story is defamatory or violates privacy rights, or is obsolete, unfair, irrelevant, out of date, and inaccurate.”
Mwaura asked readers to weigh in on the matter previously and published a selection of reader responses.
iMediaEthics has written to Mwaura to ask if the Nation has agreed.