When being in a public area is it reasonable to expect some privacy? Or, more specific for this day and age, as a Muslim can you expect not to be associated with terrorism and serve as a commercial tool for newspapers?
When Mohammed Rashid woke up on the 16th of August he found himself on the front page of the Dutch daily Volkskrant as part of an article about anti-terrorism measures at Schiphol Airport: “Is Schiphol still safe?”. He was then contacted by friends and family members who were afraid he was arrested and in trouble. Furthermore, he regards this photo as a typical example of framing.
He send a letter (you can find it below, in Dutch) stating that he did not gave permission to publish this photo. This publication is a violation of his privacy and his image rights according to him. Moreover, in doing so, the Volkskrant is reproducing and feeding the negative image of Muslims.
The editor of the Volkskrant has invited Mohammed Rashid for a meeting.
In public reaction (HERE in Dutch) editor of the Volkskrant states:
In the three cars he (the photographer, MdK) could take a picture of during the surveillance, were drivers with a Muslim-like appearance. As editors we were aware of the sensitive nature of that and debated about it. But the newspaper has the duty to show the reality. Was the photographer expected to wait until he could photograph, let’s say, a blond woman, because we do not like reality? That would surely have been manipulation. The message about these security checks may be unpleasant, that does not mean that the messenger, the newspaper in this case, does something wrong.
The question that remains then, is if we should have asked mr Rashid for permission, as he states in his letter. This is a well known issue in media law. The principle of free press is then in opposition to the right to privacy of people on a photo. In pictures newspapers make in the public space the principle of free press prevails. I support that. Media should be able to report what happens.
Also the editor notes that they depicted mr Rashid as traveller and not as a suspect.