Australia: Centralian Advocate sued for using Aboriginal child's photo to illustrate 'youth crisis' story - PressFrom - Australia
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Australia Centralian Advocate sued for using Aboriginal child's photo to illustrate 'youth crisis' story

12:52  28 september  2018
12:52  28 september  2018 Source:   abc.net.au

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An Alice Springs newspaper is being sued after one of its employees took a photo of a 10-year-old Aboriginal boy standing behind a fence at a sports oval and then used it to illustrate a front-page story special on a youth crisis.

The matter was mentioned before Associate Justice Vincent Luppino in the Northern Territory Supreme Court on Thursday.

The boy, now 11, was photographed while at Anzac Oval in Alice Springs one evening "when he was attending for lawful purpose with friends and family", stated a statement of claim lodged with the Supreme Court.

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The Centralian Advocate published the photo on its front page in 2017 above the headline "Youth Crisis: town split over kids".

The paper contained a four-page special covering issues of youth crime, curfews, delinquency, police, and youth social services in Alice Springs.

The defamation case against Nationwide News Pty Ltd, the publishing subsidiary of News Corp, was brought by the boy's mother.

Lawyer Peter O'Brien said in the statement of claim that the front page carried several imputations: that the boy was a criminal, a delinquent, that he was imprisoned or detained or that he needed to be imprisoned or detained, and that he was contributing to a crisis situation.

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"By reason of the publication of the matter complained of, the plaintiff has been subjected to hatred, ridicule and contempt and has suffered and continues to suffer distress and damage to his reputation," Mr O'Brien said.

The boy had been humiliated and outraged, he said, and had experienced anxiety.

The publication breached the boy's privacy and intruded on his privacy "in a manner which would be considered highly offensive to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities", he said.

"Such act caused the plaintiff detriment in the form of mental, psychological and emotional harm and distress and hindered the plaintiff from doing an act which he was lawfully entitled to do," the statement of claim read.

Mr O'Brien said the Centralian Advocate had shown an insulting disregard for the boy, from his "vulnerable status as an Indigenous child" to his dignity, privacy, and personal security.

The boy and his mother are claiming damage, aggravated and exemplary damage, interest, and costs.

The general manager of the Centralian Advocate Greg Thomson was contacted for comment on the story, and said he had "nothing further to add".

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