Parents cannot validly consent to their children appearing on reality TV shows if taking part would not be in the child’s best interests, according to a leading lawyer.
Alexander Carter-Silk, a partner in the intellectual property department at Speechly Bircham, says that media companies should be “very slow to rely on waivers and consents” from parents “when it is clear to any right-thinking person that the dominant motive is viewing figures and public interest rather than the welfare of the child”.
In a paper presented at a conference hosted by his firm, Mr Carter-Silk says parents may breach their children’s right to privacy by entering them for programmes such as Channel 4’s Boys and Girls Alone.
The paper is based on an analysis of past court rulings, including one obtained by the author JK Rowling after her toddler son was photographed in the street.
Now if only Michael Jackson’s parents had talked to their lawyers before putting him on the stage …