OK! rapped over photos of Potter author's daughter

The solicitor acting for JK Rowling has said the Harry Potter author’s eight-year-old daughter was now "out of bounds" to the media, following a Press Complaints Commission ruling.

The PCC upheld a complaint by the author after pictures – taken without permission – of her daughter Jessica playing on a beach in Mauritius were published in OK! in August.

In its adjudication, the Commission noted that Rowling had gone to considerable lengths to protect her daughter’s privacy and this was reflected in the choice of holiday location and the hotel, which had exclusive access to the beach area.

"Given the high level of protection afforded by the Editors’ Code to children, photographs of the complainant’s daughter should not have been taken or published," the PCC said.

It ruled that OK! had breached the code’s privacy and protection of children clauses. The adjudication added: "The photographs had shown a young child in her swimwear and were taken without her knowledge and only because she has a well-known parent. She was of school age and vulnerable to comments from her peers."

The PCC reminded all editors to take particular care to seek full consent when publishing pictures of children which might embarrass them, intrude into their privacy or damage their welfare.

Rowling said: "I hope and believe the adjudication in this case will protect Jessica against such incidents in the future and hopefully act as a precedent in cases involving other children who, little though they may sometimes wish it, have famous parents."

Her solicitor Derek Currie told Press Gazette that Rowling felt she had to make a stand because of the traumatic time her daughter had suffered at school because of the pictures.

"What it says is that if any organ of the media decides to use photographs of her child she will take similar steps in future. As far as her daughter is concerned, she is out of bounds," he said.

OK! editor Nic McCarthy, who has apologised for any distress caused, argued she had not breached the code. She said all beaches, by law, were public in Mauritius and she had borne in mind the earlier rejection of Anna Ford’s complaint about pictures of her on a beach taken without permission.

By Ruth Addicott

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