PCC rejects childbirth privacy complaint

'Superficial' detail of a child's birth not intrusive

The Press Complaints Commission has rejected a complaint brought against the Daily Record from Paul Ferris, who was described by the paper as a “gangster”, and his partner Carolyn Cunningham, over the reporting of the birth of their child.

The article reported the fact that the couple had recently had a daughter and identified the child by name. The newspaper also quoted an ‘underworld’ source who claimed that the couple wished to keep the birth secret. The complaint was brought on the grounds that this claim was inaccurate and the details relating to their child intruded into her privacy in breach of Clause 3 (Privacy) and 6 (Children) of the Code.

The Commission adjudicated that the information published about the child was ‘superficial’ since it included only the fact of her birth, her name and the county in which the family resided and was therefore not intrusive, and consequently was unlikely to impact on her welfare. Accordingly, it found no breach of Clause 3 or 6 of the Code. The Commission found that the newspaper’s offer to publish something further, setting out the complainants’ position, was a proportionate remedy to any breach of the Code in respect of the inaccuracy of the claim.