Case Number: 2128

Council Meeting: AUGUST 2010

Verdict: Not Upheld

Publication: Next

Ruling Categories: Children and Young People

Background and Complaint
The April 2010 issue of Next magazine included a five-page feature entitled “Reinventing Family Ties”. It examined unconventional house-sharing arrangements and was a series of small stories focusing on different people and their “alternative” ways of living.

Men’s ties are a theme in the photographs accompanying the stories, reinforcing and playing on the feature’s main heading “Reinventing Family Ties”.

One of the stories featured a group comprising a woman and daughter; a father and son; and a father of three, all sharing a house.

Fiona Moore complained that her permission had not been obtained for a section of the article and the main photograph, which featured her four-year-old son beside his father. Ms Moore also complained about aspects of the photograph.

Magazine’s Response
The editor of Next advised that permission to take the photograph was gained from the father and in accordance with standard practice. The consent was taken in good faith. She sincerely regretted that the complainant felt the magazine had been irresponsible. “However, in this case we genuinely did not believe there would be any issue with parental consent.”
Discussion and Finding
The two issues which are in the Press Council’s jurisdiction are whether the magazine should have published the article, given the father’s consent, and whether they should have published the photograph.

There was consent both given and implied in the participation in the feature and photograph. It was reasonable for the magazine to continue on the basis of the father’s consent. The Press Council does not uphold this aspect of the complaint.

The Press Council sees nothing untoward in the photograph and this complaint is not upheld.

Press Council members considering this complaint were Barry Paterson (Chairman), Pip Bruce Ferguson, Ruth Buddicom, Sandy Gill, Penny Harding, Keith Lees, Clive Lind, John Roughan, Lynn Scott and Stephen Stewart.