Two British news outlets, the Telegraph and the Gloucester Citizen, used the photo of a random person to accompany their news stories about a girl’s death by suicide.
The mother of the girl complained to the press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation over the two September stories about her daughter’s death. IPSO granted anonymity to the mother. The mother’s name, the name of her daughter, and the details about the stories in question weren’t revealed in the IPSO resolutions, as to ensure anonymity.
However, iMediaEthics was able to confirm with IPSO that the girl who died was under 18 years old.
The Telegraph‘s article was published on its website Sept. 30 and the Gloucester Citizen published its article on Sept. 28. Both news outlets argued it was fair for them to report on the inquest into the girl’s death. However, both the Telegraph and the Citizen “accepted” their error in using a photo of the wrong person.
When asked how the error occurred and who was actually pictured, Citizen editor Jenny Eastwood told iMediaEthics by e-mail, “I won’t be making any further comment on the below.” iMediaEthics has contacted the Telegraph for comment.
Both news outlets resolved the woman’s complaints because they both unpublished their articles, sent the mother a private apology, took the photo in question out of their databases and donated money to a charity. Further, both outlets said they would try to get any websites that republished their stories to remove them as well.