The Norwich Evening News has been barred from using a police photo of a man banned from having contact with children.
The authorities thought he was such a danger that they went to court to obtain an indefinite sex offender order.
It means he cannot approach or contact anyone under 18 or share accommodation with them.
Yet when the Evening News asked for a picture to show people who he was, Norfolk police refused.
The police said it was because the man had not been convicted of anything, although he had previous convictions in another part of the country, where he had also befriended families with young children to “groom” them.
Editor David Bourn said he had requested a picture on the basis that its publication would help protect the public.
He said: “I understand fears that paedophiles might be driven underground by publication of their details.
“But when police actually go to the trouble of conducting a man as a danger to the public, then refusing us a picture, it is a nonsense.
“How can they say he’s a danger then not let us identify him in case people who see him are concerned?
“It’s hugely frustrating. It seems the regulations are stacked in favour of the defendants now.”
Police felt that the most appropriate way to stop him further offending was to remove his access to children.