Press Council reprimands Blick and Telebasel

Blick accused a Zurich restorer of fraud. The Press Council states that the craftsman should have been heard - and should not have been photographed without consent. Telebasel also violated the privacy of a neighborhood activist.

In several articles, the newspaper Blick has made serious accusations against a Zurich restorer. He allegedly received down payments but never delivered the ordered furniture. The Press Council now holds that the craftsman should have been heard before publication. Furthermore, the craftsman does not have to put up with being photographed in his store from the street. Without the consent of the person concerned, this would only be permissible if there was an overriding public interest. But this is not the case, because the photo does not serve to document the controversial business practices of the craftsman, as the Press Council writes in a statement published on Tuesday. This also applies if the image is anonymized for publication with a black bar.

Protection from admission, right to comment

According to the Press Council, the right to one's own image protects not only against unauthorized publication, but under certain circumstances even before the picture is taken. It is not acceptable, for example, to ambush someone at their front door, take a picture against their will and then put a bar on it to protect their privacy, writes the Press Council. In addition, Blick should have confronted the craftsman with the serious accusations before publishing the article. Admittedly, the newspaper has already published most of the accusations in earlier articles, together with the statement of the person concerned. According to the Press Council, however, it would have been obligated to include his point of view in the new articles as well. The restorer would have had to be heard on new allegations anyway.

In its statement, the Press Council concludes that Blick has violated the right of the person concerned to his own image. In addition, the person concerned should have been heard before the article was published. In contrast, the newspaper neither violated the duty to tell the truth nor distorted information or otherwise violated the "Declarations of the Duties and Rights of Journalists.

Telebasel violates privacy

Telebasel has harassed a neighborhood activist with a running camera and thus violated her privacy. The Press Council has partially approved a complaint, as it announced on Tuesday. The woman is defending herself against a construction project; she had refused an interview. Admittedly, a local television station is allowed to record a politically active person in the picture, if this goes in a public function to a public event. However, it is not permissible to "ambush" the person at the front door and continue to harass her if she makes it clear that she does not want to give information or be filmed.

The person concerned is taking a stand against the large-scale project in Basel's Kleinhüningen Rhine harbor, which has been apostrophized as "Rhinehattan". She is also a member of a state support group for it. Telebasel filmed once in front of a building where this group was holding a meeting and once in front of the woman's front door. Because the woman had previously declined an interview request sent by e-mail, it was "disproportionate" to follow her with the camera afterwards, the press council states in the communiqué. (SDA)

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