Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Fury erupts as we repost something taken down elsewhere.

What a truly wonderful piece of journalism this is:

A FACEBOOK snap of a baby posing with a cigarette in his mouth sparked fury last night.

Pals of six-month-old Ollie's mum Rebecca Davey, 18, were horrified when the photo was posted by a relative on the social networking site.

The picture shows Ollie in a striped babygro with the unlit fag between his lips.

Shocked friends complained to Facebook bosses and the snap was later removed.

Thankfully though the Sun has managed to obtain a copy of the photograph, probably from said "shocked friends" who after complaining to "Facebook bosses" swiftly sold the story to the daily newspaper of record.

It's difficult to know whether there's been any potential infringement here of the Press Complaints Commission's code, presumably on the grounds that the image was first made available by the family themselves. Otherwise the second clause on children is fairly clear:

ii) A child under 16 must not be interviewed or photographed on issues involving their own or another child’s welfare unless a custodial parent or similarly responsible adult consents.

Doubtless the Sun would plead a public interest defence - if this is what they're doing to the child, even as a joke, then the authorities should be informed, as they were. Yet considering that Facebook took it down, doubtless as a breach of the network's code, why reprint the photograph when a description would have sufficed? Or is it just that there isn't much of a story, which there isn't anyway, without the photograph?

If it didn't involve a young mother, who is also naturally pictured complete with cigarette in her mouth, it's even more doubtful whether it would have found its way onto the Sun's website. What was intended as a joke, even if one in very poor taste, has been blown out of all proportion. How does this help anyone, considering the police felt there was no need for further action to be taken, except the newspaper? Answer came there none.

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