The Australian Press Council (APC) has come out in full support of Chrissie Swan after the media personality submitted a complaint about a Woman’s Day article.
The article, which appeared in print on 27 March 2017, featured photos of Swan and her three children leaving a McDonalds drive-through.
The dispute for Swan was not the image itself but the details about her children.
Woman’s Day included the names and ages of Swan’s three children, an act she said was meant to “expose and ridicule” her children.
The article read, “STAR SPOTTER Your favourite stars … caught on camera”.
A caption next to her youngest child said she “leads the way!” adding, “Drive-through Maccas is every kid’s dream treat!”
The article began, “These guys must’ve been doing their chores!” and said Swan treated her children—stating their names and ages—“to a lunch date at McDonald’s”.
In a statement, the APC said, “Swan said her complaint was not about the coverage of herself but of her young children.
“The photograph showed them in an unflattering light, one with a pacifier and a security blanket and another with a pacifier.
“She said the effect of the picture was to expose the children to ridicule.
“The photograph had been taken without her knowledge or approval, and the article caused considerable distress to her family, made the children feel unsafe, and exposed them to threats and abuse, especially cyberbullying,” it added.
The APC completely agreed with and backed Swan’s concerns in its conclusory paragraph of the statement.
The Press Council's latest adjudication concerns a complaint by Chrissie Swan about an article published in Woman’s Day magazine. https://t.co/pnhj9lrXym
— Aus Press Council (@AusPressCouncil) May 20, 2018
“The Council notes that the photograph of the complainant and her children was taken without her consent or knowledge.
“Children have a reasonable expectation of privacy, although this can be limited in various ways, in particular by what their parents do or cause the children to do.
“Particular care is required when publishing material concerning children, given that children have a limited degree of choice. This will involve exercising judgment in individual cases.
“The Council considers the article was likely to cause substantial distress to the family.
“In publishing the article with the unauthorised photograph of the children with their pacifiers and a security blanket visiting “Maccas” with the accompanying caption “… caught on camera”, the publication failed to take reasonable steps to avoid causing substantial offence, distress or prejudice. Nor did any public interest justify this. Accordingly, the publication breached General Principle 6.”
Woman’s Day has been faced with a litany of high-profile complaints, most notably its recent stoush with Rebel Wilson, which ended in a $1.3 million payout from Bauer.