PCC investigates Alfie Patten tabloid payments claim

The Press Complaints Commission has begun an investigation into claims that two tabloid newspapers paid for the story of 13-year-old Alfie Patten, reported to be one of Britain’s youngest fathers.

The organisation said today that it was inquiring into whether The Sun and The People made payments to Patten’s parents.

The investigation was launched by the PCC under its own volition and was not the result of a complaint, the PCC said.

Clause 6.4 of the editors’ code of practice reads: “Minors must not be paid for material involving children’s welfare, nor parents or guardians for material about their children or wards, unless it is clearly in the child’s interests”.

Newspapers are allowed to breach this rule if there is a demonstrable public interest in publishing the story.

The PCC said it would make its findings public within weeks, once it had completed the investigation.

The Sun published its ‘dad at 13’ scoop on Friday morning and has claimed record web traffic as a result.

The People published a follow-up interview with the teenager, from Hailsham in East Sussex, on Sunday.

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