Miliband wins PCC support in row over child adoption

By Dominic Ponsford

The Press Complaints Commission has upheld the right of public
figures to have a private family life by censuring the Mail on Sunday
for “highly intrusive” reporting.

The newspaper was criticised for a report on the adoption of a child by Cabinet Office minister, David Miliband.

His
wife, Louise, complained the article revealed details about her health
which she considered a “flagrant and fundamental breach of the Code, as
it publicised what was an intensely personal and private matter”.

The
MoS apologised for causing distress to Mrs Miliband and offered to
publish an apology; an offer which she rejected. The MoS said that the
information was obtained openly by speaking to a friend of Mrs
Miliband’s USbased parents.

According to the PCC, the Cabinet Office did not provide a comment when it was contacted the night before publication.

The
MoS said it handled the story sensitively and argued that there was a
public interest in offering “context” to the issue of international
adoption.

Miliband and his wife adopted their son Isaac via a US surrogacy agency.

The PCC ruled that the MoS had breached clause three of the Editors’

Code
of Practice. It states that everyone is entitled to respect for their
private life and specifically refers to a person’s health.

The
PCC said: “It was clear that this was a case that the information
concerned was highly personal. In order to have a legitimate reason for
putting it The Lincolnshire Echo is claiming another victory in its
long-running battle with Lincolnshire County Council. Council leader
Ian Croft and all nine members of his executive have resigned. Their
decision came less than 36 hours after the Echo highlighted the
findings of a damning auditors’ report which slated the
Conservative-controlled council. The five pages of coverage included a
feature offering “50 Good Reasons…” why the executive should go.The
resignations came 11 months after former council leader Jim Crossley
was jailed for abusing his powers following a series of investigations
by journalists. Echo editor Mike Sassi said: “We hope that, at last, we
might be nearing the end of a sorry saga which has been rumbling on for
almost five years.

Lincolnshire’s good name has been dragged through the mud.”.

into
the public domain, the newspaper should either have had explicit
consent from the complainant for doing so, or a convincing public
interest reason for over-riding her wishes. Neither was a feature here.

The
newspaper’s justification that consent had been implied because a
family friend had spoken to a reporter in America was feeble. There was
no apparent reason to think that the friend was speaking with the
authority of the complainant. Neither was obtaining a non-committal
response from a Government press officer late on Saturday night any
sort of justification for publishing such private details about the
complainant.”

The PCC said the MoS had put into the public domain a highly intrusive story and committed a serious breach of the Code.

Comments
No comments to display

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

14 − 8 =

CLOSE
CLOSE