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    Thursday, 27 September 2007

    Catch-up (August): PCC makes first internet video ruling

    In mid-August, the PCC proffered its first ruling on the use of a video on a newspaper's internet site (1,2). In a case echoing that of teacher Angela Mason (1,2), a child took mobile phone video footage of the behaviour of her peers which was subsequently released to a number of newspapers. The Scottish Sun and Scottish Daily Mirror ran the story with captures from the footage on which pupils' identities had been obscured, but the Hamilton Advertiser uploaded the uncensored footage to its website. The PTA complaint to the PCC alleged breach of privacy and damage to the school's reputation (without proper checks having been made by the newspaper); the newspaper contended a public interest justification.

    The PCC's decision was something of a curate's egg for the newspapers concerned. It accepted that there was a public interest dimension, but concluded that the Advertiser's failure to take steps to conceal pupils' identity or to obtain proper consent from those filmed outweighed this argument (see here). Separate claims against the other newspapers was rejected as identities had been concealed (here and here).

    The case was especially interesting as the first case involving online video content since the PCC's determination in February of this year that the regulation of such content should be left to it rather than placed in the hands of broadcast regulators as had been mooted by the EC Commission.

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