Privacy complaints against Sun, Mail and Telegraph over pictures of Andy Murray's baby daughter rejected by IPSO

Kim and Andy Murray watching a tennis match. Picture: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

Representatives of tennis star Andy Murray’s baby daughter have had privacy complaints against the Daily Mail, Mail Online, The Sun and Telegraph rejected by press regulator IPSO.

The regulator also rejected their claim that the stories constituted harassment.

The complaints made on behalf of Sophia Murray, who was four months old at the time, were over the following stories published on 29 June:

  • Mini Miss Murray, our new bawl girl – published in the Daily Mail
  • Wimbledon makes an exception on ‘no baby’ rule as Kim Sears brings daughter Sophia to cheer on Andy Murray” – published on Telegraph.co.uk
  • One Love Kim Murray stuns as she takes daughter Sophie out to experience her first Wimbledon while dad Andy stars on Centre Court – published in The Sun
  • Baby’s first Wimbledon! Kim Murray takes four-month-old daughter Sophia to watch her dad Andy win his first round match in three straight sets – published in Mail Online.

The Mail Online article reported on Kim Murray taking baby Sophia to the Wimbledon tennis tournament for the first time.

It was accompanied by images of her being pushed in her pram by her mother. In two of these images, the top of her head was visible, and in two other her foot was visible.

A further 1 July Mail Online article reported that “while she may be missing Daddy, there’s no question of hardship for baby Murray”, and explained that the Wimbledon crèche had recently been upgraded.

It was accompanied by two images of Sophia being pushed in her pram by her mother, in one of which the top of hear head could be seen.

The IPSO complaint said taking photographs of Sophia without the consent of her parents was a breach of her privacy.

It said that Mrs Murray was attending Wimbledon to support her husband and, as a nursing mother, she needed to take her young daughter with her.

The complaint said that as a consequence of the photographs being published, arrangements were made for Sophia to be looked after at home, which disrupted her feeding arrangements.

Images of Sophia have not been released by her parents.

The complaint said that publication of images of Sophia, against the express wishes of her parents, was “likely to cause harm and distress”.

The Murrays also warned that publication of such material “creates a market for intrusive photographs” and “encourages harassing conduct by paparazzi photographers”.

Sophia and her mother were said to have been “jostled and pushed by a group of unknown photographers” as they left Wimbledon that day. In these circumstances they said that the taking and publication of the photographs constituted harassment.

Mail Online said Mrs Murray and her child did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy at Wimbledon, which is a high-profile public event.

It said she entered via Gate 16, which is an entrance used by the media and where press are routinely situated. It said that the photographer took the photographs from a position where he was entitled to be, standing approximately 50m from the gate when Mrs Murray arrived.

It noted also that the Wimbledon conditions of entry state that during the tournament, photography takes place in the grounds, and that “by your presence at the championships, you grant your permission, free of charge, for your image …to be included in pictures”.

It said that Sophia was not identifiable in the images.

The 1 July article by Mail Online followed a “Private Advisory Notice” circulated by IPSO on 29 June, with a request from the Murrays that they do not consent to the publication of photographs of their daughter.

Mail Online said it gave due consideration to the notice, but pointed out that it was only advisory.

The Murrays countered that Gate 16 is described by Wimbledon as a “private and contractors” entrance, and said that the photographer was not in an approved position.

IPSO considered all four complaints under clause 2 of the Editors’ Code (privacy), 3 (harassment) and 6 (children).

Rejecting the complaint, the IPSO code committee said: “As a result of the complainant’s age, and the fact that her face was only partially visible, the committee did not consider that the complainant was recognisable from the photographs published by the publication, or that they disclosed any identifying or private information about her.

“The photographs subject to this complaint were taken without the knowledge of the complainant’s mother, and there was therefore no suggestion that the photographer had continued to photograph the complainant after being asked to desist, or that the photographer’s behaviour had otherwise harassed the complainant.

“The committee did not consider that the act of publication of the photographs, in the circumstances, constituted harassment under the terms of Clause 3. Clause 3 generally relates to the conduct of journalists in the newsgathering process.

“The information the photographs contained about the complainant, her arrival at Wimbledon, or being pushed in a pram on her way to the Wimbledon crèche were not issues involving her welfare, such that consent for the photograph from a parent was required under Clause 6.”

The complaints against the other publications were also similarly rejected by IPSO

Picture: Reuters

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