Naming of children is now 'a matter of urgency'

The Newspaper Society has requested a meeting with Government officials as a “matter of urgency” to discuss guidelines on the naming of children in local papers.

In recent years papers have found it increasingly difficult to publish full names alongside photographs of children taken at schools. Headteachers have argued that such information could be misused by paedophiles.

In 2002, the Department for Education and Schools issued guidance saying that headteachers should only release the first names of children.

In a letter to Education Secretary Charles Clarke the Newspaper Society said this week: “Although we are advised that the guidance was not intended to affect the local media, it has certainly had an adverse impact upon coverage of school events. Our members are increasingly experiencing difficulties in taking photographs of school plays and teams.

Without names, pictures are of limited interest to local papers.”

The letter concluded: “Now that the season of school nativity plays is upon us we anticipate an escalation of the difficulties currently experienced.

This situation has now become a matter of urgency.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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