Charmain McInally said she had not given consent for her children to appear in the North Norfolk News and that it was “unacceptable” for the paper to sell prints of them to the public without checks being undertaken first.
She complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation over the issue after the photo was sold to an estranged relative of hers against her wishes.
But the watchdog said commercial transactions made by newspapers did not fall within its remit and refused to uphold the complaint.
Ms McInally had complained to IPSO under Clause 6 (Children) of the Editors’ Code about an article which reported on a ‘comic-book hero’ party organised by a local nursery.
The complainant, whose two children did not attend the organising nursery, accompanied them to the party, but said that she was unaware that their photograph had been taken and had not given consent for it to be published.
The News denied a breach of code, citing a Norfolk County Council policy which ensures that children with safeguarding issues are not photographed at any event that could involve media coverage.
It said while it was sorry that the complainant was unaware that photographs were being taken at the event, it had been invited by the nursery to attend and had not, in line with the policy, been alerted by the nursery to any individuals it should not photograph.
The Archant-owned News added that it could not remember a situation where people wishing to purchase photographs from the paper had been an issue in the past, but said it understood the complainanats unhappiness about the issue and had deleted the picture in question from its archives.
IPSO said the photo had been taken at a party in a community centre which the newspaper had been invited to by the nursery, and did not concern an issue involving the children’s welfare or intrude into their time at school.
While the Committee noted the complainant’s unhappiness about the News selling photographs of her children without permission, this was a commercial transaction separate from the newspaper’s publication of editorial content which did not engage the Code or fall within IPSO’s remit.
The complaint was not upheld, and the full adjudication can be read here.