Chat magazine in breach of code for staged murder picture

The Press Complaints Commission has ruled that Chat magazine breached the code of practice twice after staging a photograph of a murder victim.

Chat carried a picture showing a woman wrapped in black bin liners to illustrate how the victim was found but failed to include a caption making clear that the photo was a reconstruction.

The victim’s step-father complained to the commission that the photo had caused considerable distress to the family saying that one family member had believed that it was actually the victim.

Chat accepted it had made a mistake in failing to caption the picture.

The PCC ruled that the magazine’s failure to specify that the photograph was staged was in breach of clause 1 (accuracy).

Of more concern to the commission was the fact that the picture was published close to the anniversary of the victim’s death and showed ‘a total disregard for the family of the dead woman”. It was found in breach of clause 5 (intrusion into grief and shock) of the code.

The magazine is to publish the adjudication.

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