AddThis SmartLayers

Watchdog clears weekly after woman complains about photo in garden

The press watchdog has NewIPSOcleared a weekly newspaper after a woman complained about being photographed in her garden.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation has rejected a complaint by Heather Waine after the picture was published by the Galloway News.

The News had covered what it described as a “right of way dispute” between Ms Waine’s family and a group of walkers after a barrier was erected on a “forest pathway”.

The photo accompanying one of the News’s story about the issue showed Ms Waine discussing the matter with a group of walkers, which she claimed was a breach of her privacy.

But IPSO found in favour of the paper, ruling she had no reasonable expectation of privacy over the photo.

Complaining about two stories by the News under Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy), Clause 3 (Harassment) and Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock) of the Editors’ Code of Practice, Ms Waine said she had been pictured on private land, in the garden of her family home, and said the photo was taken without her knowledge or consent.

Ms Waine had been talking to a group of four people who were standing on public land at the boundary of her property, when one of the individuals took a photo of her without her knowledge.

She also objected to the use of various terms used by the News including “right of way dispute” and “forest pathway”, claiming both Dumfries and Galloway Council and her solicitors had confirmed there was no public right of way in the area on which the News was reporting.

In response, the News said the photo was justified because it had been taken from public land and portrayed the dispute between the walkers and the landowner, with the barrier in between, which had been the central focus of its stories.

It said it did not claim that the path was a right of way but noted that, apart from the small privacy zone just around the home, the path was in an area where the right to roam was allowed in accordance with the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.

IPSO found the published photo had not disclosed private information about Ms Waine and had revealed only her likeness, which was information which would ordinarily have been seen by members of the public, should they have been walking past the property at the time.

In these circumstances, there was no reasonable expectation of privacy over the photo and she did not need to give her consent to be photographed.

It also found it was not misleading to describe the alleged track as “a public track” or “forest pathway”, or to use the phrase “right of way dispute”, especially as the articles made clear that access to the track was in dispute.

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

Other recent IPSO cases involving regional newspapers include:

Clark v Northern Scot

Niall Clark claimed the Northern Scot breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in a story which reported a new railcard had been launched in Scotland for veterans and stated that the Scottish Government was “also funding a further discount scheme” to encourage uptake.

Mr Clark claimed this was inaccurate as it implied that the railcard was an initiative by the devolved Scottish Government, rather than being part of a UK-wide initiative.

The Northern Scot said that transport was a devolved matter and that the railcard, in the format issued in Scotland, was introduced by the Scottish Government, but offered to publish a new online article, clarifying that the railcard was a UK-wide initiative.

This resolved the matter to Mr Clark’s satisfaction, and the full resolution statement can be read here.

Thompson v Barnsley Chronicle

Chris Thompson claimed the Barnsley Chronicle breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in a story about his research into George Orwell.

Mr Thompson said the story was inaccurate because he had never said a quote attributed to him by the Chronicle, according to a copy of his notes from the interview.

The Chronicle said the quotes published in the story may not be exactly the same as the notes provided by Mr Thompson, as they reflected what had been said by him in the interview and had not been taken from his notes, but deleted the story from its social media as a gesture of goodwill.

IPSO found the reporter’s contemporaneous notes supported what had been reported in the story, and the Chronicle had not failed to take care to publish Mr Thompson’s comments accurately.

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