'OK!' censured over bikini pictures of JK Rowling's daughter

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The Independent Online

The celebrity magazine OK! was criticised by the Press Complaints Commission yesterday for publishing photographs of the eight-year-old daughter of J K Rowling, the creator of Harry Potter, in a bikini.

The magazine, published by Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell group, was found to have breached two elements of the commission's code, on privacy and on the welfare of children, by publishing pictures of the author on holiday in Mauritius with her daughter, Jessica, in August.

Ms Rowling, 36, has assiduously kept her child out of the limelight as her success has grown. The adventures of Harry Potter, the young wizard, have sold an estimated 100 million copies worldwide.

The commission confirmed it had upheld her complaint yesterday after the author's solicitors released details of the adjudication. Tim Toulmin, the commission's deputy director, said OK! had been informed earlier this week but had demonstrated no desire to appeal against its decision.

"The PCC is always very concerned where the welfare of children is involved," he said.

"It wanted to make clear that in this case there were a number of deciding factors. J K Rowling complained under sections three and six of the code, relating to a person's right to privacy and the welfare of children. She has never put her child into the public domain and always guarded her privacy. There are no other pictures of the child in circulation.

"The commission decided that, in line with her policy, she had selected a place that was quiet, that was off-season and that was not overlooked by any other buildings other than the hotel.

"The pictures of her and the child were taken without her consent and with a long lens in a place where the child had a reasonable expectation of privacy." Mr Toulmin said the child had suffered embarrassment and distress at school after the four-page feature was published.

Ms Rowling said: "I am delighted and relieved that the PCC has ruled in Jessica's favour. I am endeavouring to give her as normal an upbringing as possible and have made every possible effort over the last four years to protect her from press intrusion.

"I hope and believe that the adjudication will protect Jessica against such incidents in future and hopefully act as a precedent in cases involving other children who, little though they may sometimes wish it, have famous parents."

OK! was censured last year for publishing pictures of Prince William and breaching his privacy.

No one at Northern & Shell was available for comment yesterday.

* A nephew of Camilla Parker Bowles, Benjamin Elliot, accepted "substantial undisclosed damages" yesterday over an article in the Sunday People that wrongly alleged he had been involved in a "nude sex romp" with Jade Jagger, daughter of the rock star Mick Jagger, in Ibiza. It was accompanied by photographs of a naked and semi-naked man which were wrongly said to be him.

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