The Independent has been rapped by the PCC for revealing that an actress was pregnant before she had even told her family – she later suffered a miscarriage.
Joanna Riding complained over an article in the Pandora diary column on 8 March which she said intruded into her privacy in breach of clause three of the Editor’s Code. The complaint was upheld.
The column, then edited by Guy Adams, reported that Riding had withdrawn from a theatre role because she was pregnant.
Riding said that at the time the only people informed of her pregnancy were her agent and the producer of the show.
The newspaper responded to Riding’s initial complaint by offering to publish a letter from her and removing the story from its website.
After the PCC became involved the paper offered to publish an apology, but Riding rejected this preferring to wait for an adjudication.
In its ruling the PCC said: “As a matter of common sense newspapers and magazines should not reveal news of an individual’s pregnancy without consent before the 12 week scan, unless the information is known to such an extent that it would be perverse not to refer to it.
“This is because of the possibility of complications or miscarriage – something that was sadly a feature in this case – and because it should be down to the individual when to share the news with her family and friends in the early phase of a pregnancy.
“Revealing the complainant’s pregnancy at such a stage – before she had told her family, and when it was not obvious – was therefore a serious intrusion into her private life.”