Thursday

Gerry Attacks Journalists : ‘We cannot forgive the Newspapers suggestion that Madeleine is dead’


Called to the British Parliament to discuss the behaviour of media coverage in the case of the disappearance of his daughter, the doctor made harsh criticisms.

by Duarte Levy

The father of Madeleine, Gerry McCann, was heard yesterday by the members of the standing committee of the British Parliament for the matters of Culture, Media and Sport, to whom he explained, for during little more than an hour, which was his viewpoint about the work of the journalists, particularly the Portuguese, to whom he has not spared criticism.

"Although the elements of media coverage have undoubtedly been useful in the search for Madeleine, our family was the focus of some of the most sensationalist content, false, irresponsible and harmful in the history of the press," lamented the father of the girl best known of the planet. After expressing its solidarity with Maddie’s parents, the members of the commission questioned the three witnesses about the behaviour of the media, aiming in particular at the Portuguese newspapers.

Considering that the content of news published in the early days did not help at all the couple, Madeleine’s father failed to explain why the couple did not respect the advice of the authorities to not use the media, putting at risk the life of their own daughter.

"Drunken" English

The spokesman of Kate and Gerry even accused his former colleagues of having worked in Praia da Luz in a "convivial atmosphere" where they spent the time getting drunk, which eventually forced him to intervene in a daily basis to prevent that the journalists published whatever they obtained from the bad translations of the Portuguese newspaper covers, after they had spent the night drinking in bars.

Gerry McCann also criticized the Portuguese journalists that would be at the origin of news that affected the couple and that were immediately copied by English colleagues, which would then be quoted in the following day in Portugal.

For Madeleine’s father, the fact that Portuguese laws date back to the time of a fascist government and afterwards of a communist government explain the reasons of the said laws not working, which, according to the doctor, explains, as well, the existence of the secrecy of justice to which the journalists did not comply without suffering any legal consequences, stressing that the source of much information was the police.

The British parliamentary committee, consisting predominantly by members from the [Labour] party of the Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who directly interfered in the investigations, is conducting a survey on the standards applied to the work of journalists in England.

The committee wants to assess whether the media professionals respected the privacy of those involved and understand what has happened in the cases where the media was accused of libel and ended up paying important sums for cases that never reached the courtrooms.

Along with Madeleine McCann’s father, were still questioned Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for the couple, and Adam Tudor, a Carter-Ruck lawyer which represented Kate and Gerry in the processes interposed against several media outlets in the United Kingdom. It was equally this lawyer’s office who directly threatened several journalists in Portugal and abroad without ever having taken the case to court.

Source: 24 Horas page 9

Joana Morais

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