The South Wales Evening Post reported on a boy who had removed an emergency life ring from a life boat temporarily, but its story included information about the boy’s medical condition and a blurred photo from security footage of the boy. But, by including that information, the paper invaded the boy’s privacy, the UK press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation ruled.
The boy’s father complained to IPSO arguing the July 3 article inaccurately suggested his son stole the life ring and invaded his son’s privacy by naming him and making it possible to identify the boy via the photo. even though the photo was blurred, the father said that the boy’s clothing and face were still recognizable. iMediaEthics has written to the Evening Post to ask why it included the boy’s medical condition.
The Evening Post defended its reporting, arguing it was in the public interest, “highlighted antisocial behaviour and the potential serious consequences it could have for public safety,” and noting that the photos were also posted on Facebook. The Evening Post did unpublish the article after the father’s complaints, but that wasn’t enough, IPSO found.
IPSO agreed with the father that the photo of the boy “included detail by which he could have readily been identified within the small local community, thus informing them of his medical condition.” It was thus an invasion of the child’s privacy. However, the Evening Post wasn’t inaccurate in reporting on the removal of the life ring, IPSO said.
The Evening Post has to publish the IPSO ruling on the first four pages of its print edition and on its website.