'Serious concern' about Alfie Patten press coverage

The Press Complaints Commission confirmed today that it has been contacted by child protection officers concerned about the media treatment of “dad at 13” Alfie Patten and his family.

The protection officers from East Sussex County Council have written to the PCC, which has already launched its own inquiry into the story.

The PCC said on Monday that it was investigating whether The Sun or The People had breached the editors’ code of practice by paying members of the Patten family for their story.

An East Sussex County Council spokesman told Press Gazette: “Our priority is the protection of the children. We have serious concern about the level of media interest.

“We believe the interests of the children are not being well-served by the current media coverage and that is the reason why we’ve made representations to the PCC.”

Press Gazette understands that the council was considering making a formal complaint if the PCC had not launched its own inquiry.

“We have received a letter from welfare services but it is not a formal complaint,” a PCC spokesman told Press Gazette this morning.

“They want to feed into and provide information to the inquiry. We welcome the input they can give.”

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

The video clip of Patten, his 15-year-old partner Chantelle Steadman and their baby has been viewed more than a million times.

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