Thursday

PRESS & MEDIA RELEASE - From The Madeleine Foundation


Hundreds oppose Channel 4 Madeleine McCann documentary in online petition

Complaint filed with OFCOM over distress caused to three-year-old ‘Madeleine substitute’ on Saturday 4 April whilst filming ‘reconstruction’

A petition to Channel 4, aimed at ensuring its self-styled ‘documentary’ on Madeleine McCann is fair, and started last Monday evening (13 April) has already attracted hundreds of signatures. The petition aims to prevent Channel 4’s ‘Cutting Edge’ team from proceeding with a televised ‘reconstruction’ enacting how Drs Gerald and Kate McCann claim their daughter Madeleine was abducted. Hundreds have signed already; the petition may be viewed at: http://www.petitiononline.com/6789zyxw/petition.html

Petition creators Debbie Butler (Chairman) and Tony Bennett (Secretary) of the Madeleine Foundation said: “This will simply be another exercise in giving us the McCanns’ version of what happened in Praia da Luz in May 2007 when Madeleine vanished. It is being made by the same company - Mentorn Media - who made the programme ‘Madeleine - One Year On’ last year. In that programme, the McCanns were again able to give, unchallenged, their own version of events surrounding Madeleine’s disappearance.

“This is despite a great deal of information suggesting that Madeleine was not abducted at all. Indeed, this is the recorded view of Portuguese Public Prosecutor, Magalhaes e Menezes, as reported in the journal Correio da Manha on 6 August 2008, in which he stated that there was no evidence of an abduction and that he believed Madeleine was probably dead”.

Debbie Butler said: “In the interests of fair and balanced reporting, the British people have a right to be informed about all the evidence in this case, including that which points away from the McCanns’ abduction theory. This includes the evidence of the cadaver and blood dogs, who alerted to the scent of a corpse in the McCanns’ apartment, in the McCanns’ hired car, and on some of their clothing and other items.”

In a complaint already filed with Channel 4 (copy available on request), The Madeleine Foundation expressed concern that the film appeared to being directed by Dr Gerald McCann and his ex-government public relations adviser Clarence Mitchell, and that Channel 4 may even be receiving payment from the ‘Find Madeleine Fund’ for the broadcast. “It will not be a fair broadcast unless we hear a proper balance of the available evidence”, said Ms Butler, a Kent businesswoman. “For example, the McCanns and their group of friends behaved in some very strange ways after raising the alarm about Madeleine - and if the programme is to inform rather than once again promote the McCanns’ agenda, these events need to be shown as well. Where else do the main suspects in the shelved homicide case of their three-year old-child, having hired specialist extradition lawyers to help prevent them from being charged with any offence and having refused to co-operate with police, then act as technical advisors on a 'documentary' of the event, featuring a man neither of them saw?”

On Tuesday this week (14 April), millions of people in Europe saw a different documentary on Madeleine, made with the assistance of the original senior detective in the case, Goncalo Amaral. Mr Amaral’s book, La Verdade da Mentira - The Truth about A Lie, is now selling in several European countries. In it, he explains how the evidence points to Madeleine McCann having died in Apartment 5A and suggests that her parents conspired to hide her body.

OFCOM Complaint – distress caused to three-year old child who acted the part of Madeleine

The Madeleine Foundation has also registered a separate complaint with OFCOM - Complaint No. 196344751. The complaint refers to an incident a week last Saturday night (4 April) when filming the ‘reconstruction’. The three-year-old daughter of a family friend of the McCanns was being filmed only in pyjamas at around midnight on a cold night. She was then asked to role play being kidnapped by an abductor. According to several eyewitnesses, and as widely reported in the Portuguese press, the child became very frightened and began crying and screaming. She was clearly very distressed. Filming had to be abandoned after two separate attempts to get her to co-operate.

Said Tony Bennett, himself a qualified social worker: “This seems to have been emotional abuse. The child would know a lot about Madeleine from being close to the McCann family. It was reckless to even think of putting this girl through this ordeal, let alone doing it in skimpy clothes at midnight. Channel 4 and their agents Mentorn have in our view clearly breached Codes 1.26 and 1.27 of the Broadcasting Code which requires film-makers to take very special precautions when filming all those under 18. This child was reportedly only three. Goodness knows how traumatised she would have been by having to re-enact an abduction scene with a mass of cameramen, producers and various others all watching”. OFCOM does not normally adjudicate on complaints made before a broadcast but are obliged to investigate this complaint as it became known before the broadcast is due to be transmitted, on 7 May.

FURTHER INFORMATION & CONTACTS:

Last December, the Madeleine Foundation published a book on the case: What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann? - 60 Reasons which suggest she was not abducted.
Last month the book was sent to all 646 MPs, several of whom, on reading it, have raised various matters with the Prime Minister and other government ministers.

We will be happy to supply a copy of the booklet “What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann?” on request to any editor or journalist. A copy of our letters to Channel 4, OFCOM and Mentorn are also available.

Chairman: Debbie Butler - 07867 887066
Secretary: Tony Bennett - 01279 635789 and 07835 716537
Madeleine Foundation: http://www.madeleinefoundation.org
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Discussion at the 3 arguidos: MF PRESS RELEASE 17.4.09 - Petition re C4 Maddie documentary
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Joana Morais: Maddie: The Truth of the Lie documentary and English transcript