Controversial photo with Obamas

Mystery surrounds a photo including the two daughters of the Spanish Prime Minister.

El Mundo reports that photos of Barack and Michelle Obama with José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and his wife, Sonsoles Espinosa, and the Spanish couple’s two daughters, were taken in New York on Thursday, but initially not distributed by the EFE news agency.

The paper claims that a phone call was made reminding the agency that Zapatero did not want photos of his daughters released, not even with their faces pixeled out, as is the norm for those under 18 years of age in Spain. Zapatero’s daughters, Laura and Alba, are 16 and 13.

However a statement from EFE said that it had been an internal decision by them not to distribute the photo, and that they had received no phone call from the Moncloa palace. Finally the photo, released by the White House in the State Department photo gallery on Flickr, has now appeared widely on the Internet and two Spanish newspaper front pages, in El Mundo and ABC, with the faces of Zapatero’s two daughters pixeled out. It was taken at the Metropolitan in New York by Lawrence Jackson.

There are reports of a second photo of the Zapatero daughters taken at the United Nations, but this one has been withdrawn, and the Metropolitan photo has now also been taken down from the White House gallery.

Asked about the publication of the photo, the Deputy Prime Minister, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, said that there are parents who prefer to safeguard the privacy of their children, and that she thought the Prime Minister’s wishes should be respected.

She added that leaders travel with their family on occasions, and there was nothing new in that.


What do you think of this controversy?

Did the Spanish taxpayer pay for the children's visit to the States?

Was "El Mundo" right to publish the photo?
What do you think of the way they were dressed?

Is there a difference between a private family holiday and a visit to see the Obamas?

What about others in the public eye? What do you think of the law that is supposed to protect children in the media? Is it necessary?