PCC privacy ruling on pregnancy

Report of pre-12 week pregnancy a 'significant' breach of privacy

The Press Complaints Commission has upheld a complaint that the publication of a diary piece in The Independent revealing an actress was pregnant before she had told family and friends and before her 12 week scan was a ‘significant breach’ of Clause 3 (Privacy).

The PCC decided that ‘newspapers and magazines should not reveal news of an individual’s pregnancy without consent before the 12 week scan, unless the information is known to such an extent that it would be perverse not to refer to it.’ Reports of pregnancy before an individual had had a chance to tell family and friends was ‘a serious intrusion into private life.’ The PCC said that it was a private matter for individuals to tell their famileis and friends of a new pregnancy. Revelations of pregnancy at an early stage touched also on an individual’s medical health: complications in the pregnancy, such as miscarriage, are more likely to arise in the first 3 months, as they did in this case. The media are likely to infringe a woman’s right to privacy under the Code where the pregnancy is not passed 3 months or if the pregnancy in question has remained an entirely private matter than is not of general record or a matter of physical observation.