The Daily Star did not breach accuracy guidelines by photoshopping a flat cap onto a parrot, a press regulator has ruled.
Parrot re-homing charity All Star Parrots complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation about an article in the Daily Star published under the headline “Beaky Blinders” on 28 February this year.
The tabloid reported that a “pain-loving parrot” had started laughing when its owners were hurt – a habit they noticed when one of them stubbed their toe and the parrot “let out a loud peal of laughter”.
The page-three article also said that the parrot had found its “forever home” after settling in “so well” with the couple fostering it.
An image of the parrot with a flat cap photoshopped onto its head (pictured) – after the fashion in popular TV show Peaky Blinders – ran with the story.
A representative for All Star Parrots complained to IPSO that the bird’s carer had been misquoted and said it was inaccurate to describe it as a “pain loving parrot” as parrots do not understand the concept of pain.
The charity added that the Daily Star had “compared the parrot to a psychotic television character” by putting a flat cap on it.
The charity argued that the joking nod toward the BBC drama Peaky Blinders was “not a responsible way to portray the parrot” and said the publication did not have its permission to add the flat cap to its image.
It complained under accuracy (Clause 1) of the Editors’ Code of Practice and further claimed that the Daily Star had breached privacy rules (Clause 2) as its story was “based on a video published in a private Facebook group”.
The Daily Star, published by Reach, rejected any breach of the code and provided IPSO with recordings backing its case.
It also noted that it did not require permission to publish the “Beaky Blinders” article and said the superimposed flat cap “did not render the article inaccurate or misleading”, adding that the carer had sent its journalist photographs featured in the article over Whatsapp.
IPSO ruled that the article did not breach accuracy (Clause 1) rules after listening to recordings the Daily Star provided.
The regulator’s Code Committee said “the basis for characterising the parrot as ‘pain loving’ was clear”, adding: “The committee acknowledged that the complainant found the image of the parrot in a flat cap in poor taste.
“However, the code does not address issues of taste and offence and the fact the parrot appeared in a flat cap did not engage the terms of Clause 1.”
It also found that the publication of photographs featured on the private Facebook group did not break its privacy (Clause 2) guidelines.