Journalists are not obliged to pixellate or omit photographs of children taken without parental consent, the Press Complaints Commission has ruled.
The Commission rejected a complaint against Zoo magazine for publishing a picture of a child making an antisocial gesture at a football match.
The ruling effectively means that not every picture of a child taken and published without the consent of the parent is considered a breach of the Code.
The girl's father, Paschal Quigley, argued the picture of him apparently making a Nazi salute while his 10-yearold daughter stuck up her middle finger during last year's FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Chelsea was published in May without consent, breaching Clause six (Children) of the Code.
Zoo argued that in this case the complainant and his daughter were in a public place, and were making offensive gestures which made their behaviour open to criticism.
The Code says that children under 16 must not be photographed on issues involving their welfare, without the consent of a custodial parent. The Commission admitted the photograph raised concerns about the child's welfare, since it showed her beside her father who was making a Nazi salute, for which he was later arrested.
But the Commission concluded that consent was implied from the public nature of the event and it was not "fair or sensible… to grant greater rights to people just because they were behaving antisocially".
It added that "it was hardly unreasonable for some in the media to assume that the complainant was unconcerned about publication of pictures of him and his daughter using such gestures".