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News site did not need father’s consent to run story on son, IPSO rules

NewIPSOA city news website did not need permission from both parents of a six-year-old boy to run a story about the child, the press watchdog has ruled.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation has rejected a complaint made against Glasgow Live by Gordon Forbes, whose son was the subject of a story on the site.

Glasgow Live reported the boy was doing a sponsored walk in a bid to raise funds to build a sanitation block at a school in Bangladesh, and also published a photograph of him.

Mr Forbes claimed the story should not have been published without his consent, saying he did not believe its publication was in his son’s best interests.

But IPSO turned down his complaint, saying the consent of the boy’s mother, from whom he was separated, had been sufficient to enable Glasgow Live to run the piece.

Complaining under Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy) and Clause 6 (Children) of the Editors’ Code of Practice, Mr Forbes also claimed the story was inaccurate because a man, reported in the story to be the child’s stepfather, was not his stepfather.

He further believed it had breached his son’s privacy because it featured photographs taken by the man, which he did not have permission to share.

Denying a breach of Code, Glasgow Live provided a statement from the child’s mother confirming that she consented both to the article’s publication and the inclusion of the photographs.

The statement from the mother also confirmed that the man named as the boy’s stepfather was her partner.

IPSO found a custodial parent had consented to the publication of the information in the article and the inclusion of the photographs, adding Glasgow Live did not need consent from both parents.

Mr Forbes had accepted that the man referred to in the story was in a relationship with the mother of his child, and therefore it was not significantly inaccurate for the article to refer to him as the child’s stepfather.

The complaint was not upheld, and the full adjudication can be read here.


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  • July 5, 2019 at 9:22 am

    bit of a strange complaint when you see how positive the story is.Good decision and no VAR!

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  • July 8, 2019 at 10:54 am

    Have sadly come across quite a few instances in my career where a story about a child (whose parents are no longer together) has prompted complaints from one of the parents, even though they have been positive stories. Even something as innocuous as a couple sending in photos of their grandchildren enjoying sporting success led to another family member complaining about it, saying they had no right to get involved etc. Ultimately, the newspaper cannot know the ins and outs of every family.

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