It was an invasion of privacy for New Zealand news site Newshub to publish a picture of a 6-year-old child without pixellating his face, the New Zealand media council ruled. The photo was published because of a disconnect between the original news outlet coverage and the re-publication and syndication of the article, the council explained.
News Hub published the photo with a January story, “Rowdy British tourists charged over Takapuna beach incident.” A woman complained to News Hub, without having a response, and then complained to the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Media Council.
“Showing the child’s face breached the privacy of a very young child and was harmful,” Sandra Coney, the woman who complained, argued to the council. “A child that age could not give consent and there was no public interest in showing his face.” The council didn’t note what, if any, relation Coney has to the child.
The New Zealand Media Council ruled that the photo was a breach of privacy since there was no public interest. “This complaint provides the ideal opportunity to highlight the importance of ensuring that partners in news-sharing arrangements are equally responsible in their adherence to media standards,” the council wrote. “While we acknowledge that in this situation it was a technology failure the unnecessary identification of a child has occurred.”
MediaWorks, which owns News Hub, apologized to Coney for not responding promptly, but argued it didn’t publish the child’s image and instead MSN, which republished the article did. Media Works told the media council that MSN’s video player somehow had a image of the child that had not been properly blurred, and so it was a technical error. Media Works own internal standards committee looked at the matter before the media council, the media council wrote. iMediaEthics has written to News Hub.