PCC clears Echo of wrongdoing

A businessman who reported his local newspaper to the Press Complaints Commission after being photographed at a “private” function has had his complaint dismissed.

William Ibberson, of Brighouse in West Yorkshire, complained under the Editors’ Code of Practice clauses on privacy and harassment. He was attending the 10th anniversary celebration of the opening of a school, attended by the Princess Royal, when he was photographed.

He argued the event was by private invitation and that he had not given permission to have his photograph taken. He said he had always refused to be photographed by journalists previously.

The picture was used by the Brighouse Echo to illustrate a story unconnected with the event.

Rejecting the complaint, the PCC ruled: “While the event itself may have physically taken place on private property, it was clear to the commission that the nature of the occasion was not private. A senior member of the Royal Family had attended in an official capacity – something that would have been recorded in the court circular as a public engagement.

“Moreover, the commission was bound to take into account the fact that the photographer was present at the school by invitation. He was there with the consent of the event’s organisers and there was no suggestion that he was taking photographs surreptitiously.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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