This pixelating of faces in pictures of children is going too far. Today the Guardian has a pleasant picture, across four columns, of David Cameron, wife Samantha and daughter Nancy leaving a Oxfordshire church. Nancy’s face is obscured.
This is the same Nancy who was shown with her face unobscured on her father’s shoulder in a picture released just before the Conservative Party conference last autumn.
I can’t find today’s story or picture on the paper’s website but the earlier picture is there.
Today’s picture is on the photographer Ben Stansall’s web site, with Nancy’s faced unobscured. It is a nice picture and while I don’t have any evidence that it was posed there is no sign of objection.
Anyway, having allowed publication of a family picture including Nancy, there is no question of preventing identification of the little girl.
The Press Complainst Commission code of practice says:
i) Young people should be free to complete their time at school without unnecessary intrusion.
ii) A child under 16 must not be interviewed or photographed on issues involving their own or another childâ€™s welfare unless a custodial parent or similarly responsible adult consents.
iii) Pupils must not be approached or photographed at school without the permission of the school authorities.
iv) Minors must not be paid for material involving childrenâ€™s welfare, nor parents or guardians for material about their children or wards, unless it is clearly in the child’s interest.
v) Editors must not use the fame, notoriety or position of a parent or guardian as sole justification for publishing details of a childâ€™s private life.
This raises the question of whether David and Samantha Cameron gave consent to the taking of the picture with their daughter outside the church. To have refused having previously consented to a family picture including the little girl would only reinforce the impression that they use their daughter for political gain when it suits them. Probably they were not asked.
Sometimes I have seen the faces of new born babies obscured. Who can recognise a baby? It is time to clarify this rule and get some common sense into its interpretation.