Decision Release: 2018-72 Dawson vs National Post

The National NewsMedia Council has mediated and resolved a complaint about identification of a photo in the November 27 2018 edition of the National Post. The complaint was resolved due to corrective action taken. 

A photo illustration, in contrast to a news photo, can be manipulated for artistic or editorial purposes. However, the news media organization must take care that illustration is identified as such so that the reader is not misled.

In this case, the image showed MP Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada, speaking to an empty House of Commons while a janitor vacuums the carpet. The complainant stated that the image appeared ‘doctored’ but was not identified as such, and raised concern that the omission would create perceptions of misinformation in a trusted national news organization.

Citing a commitment to transparency and crediting the attention drawn by the complaint, the newspaper corrected the error by adding ‘NP photo illustration’ to the online version and modifying the identification process to prevent future errors.

Read the full decision here.