SOL - 2/5/2008

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SOL - 2/5/2008

Postby Li » Fri May 02, 2008 4:10 pm

McCann's family will be in the media for the rest of their life

From empathy to distrust, several British journalists recognise that excesses were committed in the cover of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann but they deny that the interest for the private life of the family will decrease.

"What we have done to this couple was not our best moment as journalists", recognises the ex journalist Roy Greenslade in declarations to the Lusa agency, a year after the disappearance of the British child with 3 years old from a flat in Praia da Luz, Algarve.

Esther Addley, sub-editor of The Guardian agrees "it was not edifying, nor admirable" what was written and said in the United Kingdom about the case.

"But when we have so many journalists trying to get the slightest piece of news it is at that time that we risk things getting out of control", she notes.

Only one day after the 3rd of May of 2007, the issue was opening the news of all channels and front cover of all British newspapers - without speaking of the Portuguese, Spanish and even German or Japanese - and the little village in Algarve was invaded by journalists.

Some of the interest generated in public was due according to Adley to the fact that several persons identify themselves with the situation which led the journalists to show empathy with the case.

"It is a story that affects many people because it is a medium class story, a nightmare to go to a calm touristic resort and a child goes missing",she justifies.

But Greenslade, actually a teacher in the City University, London, understands that the posture grew, first to a phase of scepticism, "which is the right attitude that should be adopted by journalists and after to distrust when they were treated as suspects".

In his opinion this is the dominant position now even because the newspapers reflect the doubts and reproach of the readers concerning the McCanns.

"The great majority of people in United Kingdom thinks that they should not have left their children (alone), he says quoting numbers of a poll made in the Internet for the Sunday Times in August of 2007, when around 70% of the British condemned the couple for leaving the children alone.

The tendency is proved by the big number of hostile comments received in the website of Sky News about the issue, that refers to Lusa the journalist Martin Brunt is superior to the messages of support.

But the correspondent of Justice issues of the news channel considers that the British press continues in general to support the McCanns and the criticism was redirected against the Portuguese police due to the idea of facing a "weak police investigation".

"The difficulty of knowing with exactitude what the police is doing led to the criticism of the press and to the impression that the investigation is not going anywhere", he says.

An important changing moment in the way how the the case was covered was the action initiated by the McCanns against the Express group, Daily Mirror and Daily Star, that were obliged to apologise and to pay a financial compensation.

Although the defamed content was allegedly taken from news published in Portugal the newspapers were obliged to admit that there are no evidences that the parents are involved in the disappearance of their daughter as they insinuated.

Esther Addley, that reads Portuguese, was scandalized very often with what she read in the Portuguese press and astonished that the Portuguese journalists were not worried with the legal consequences.

"Some of the things were shocking and I thought several times that either the laws (in Portugal) are a lot different or if I wrote the same in United Kingdom I would be in trouble", she guarantees.

In the McCanns country, the threat of new lawsuits for defamation seems to have decreased the eager of some tabloids for information and the interest become to vanish and only increased with the first anniversary says Brunt.

For example, Sky news that made directs from Portugal in the months following the disappearance and had a section dedicated to the case in the Internet is not going to mark the anniversary in Praia da Luz.

"We are only interested in true developments", says Brunt foreseeing the "emptiness" of the story.

To mark the anniversary, Kate and Gerry McCann gave interviews to national and international media the days before to try to relaunch the campaign to find their daughter.

But since they were made arguidos in the process, in September, that the news stop being about Madeleine to begin to be about her parents.

"The McCanns will always be in the news till they die. This story was too big for them to be forgotten", says the sub-editor of the Guardian.

Martin Brunt still believes that the control of their image and their privacy depends on them but Greenslade has no doubts that the McCanns already lost that capacity and that everything they do will be under the scrutiny of public eye through the media.

"They are now a celebrity couple and all the events of their life will be exploited by the media, either when the twins go to school or for domestic problems", he says.

"This family will be in the media for the rest of their lives", he adds.
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Li
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