Daily Record censured by the PCC

The Daily Record has been censured by the Press Complaints Commission for intruding on the privacy and harassing a pregnant woman.

The press watchdog upheld a complaint concerning the manner in which the paper had pursued the manager of a lap-dancing club after it emerged the father of her child was a footballer.

Nicola Shields, of Strathmiglo, Scotland, made the complaint after the she was contacted by reporters from the Record despite having earlier asked to be left alone during her pregnancy.

After this second encounter – and after the footballer denied being the father – the Record published a story about the dispute between the two.

Shields complained that the article was illustrated by an image of her taken outside her house.

She told the PCC that she lived on a private road that gave access only to a couple of houses.

According to today’s PCC adjudication, the newspaper claimed its photographer was not on Shields’ property when he took the image and the picture had been cropped so as not to identify which of the houses she lived in.

Publishing its adjudication today, the PCC ruled the picture had breached her privacy and the paper had harassed her with its continual approaches.

The PCC said: “She was in a place where she had a reasonable expectation of privacy when she was photographed.

“Her home was very secluded, on a private road, and there would have been very few passers-by to see her at the time the photograph was taken.”

The PCC said Shields’ desire not to be contacted by the newspaper following her first encounter had been communicated to the paper’s journalists by its managing editor, despite which she was contacted on two further occasions by reporters.

The newspaper said a “breakdown in communication” led to Shields being repeatedly contacted and it apologised. It said that would not be contacting her again.

The PCC said: “It should be a relatively simple matter for newspapers to communicate internally about an individual’s request not to be approached.

“Indeed, it happens every day on most newspapers without such confusion arising. It was therefore disappointing that the procedures of a major newspaper such as the Daily Record should turn out to be so lacking.

“The commission expects them to be tightened up immediately so that there is no repeat of this problem.”

A further complaint by the woman that there were inaccuracies in the Record’s story headlined “I am pregnant by Hibs star Sol Bamba, claims lap dancer” was rejected by the commission.

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