JON CLARKE – OLIVE PRESS LIES AND VIDEOTAPE

JON CLARKE – OLIVE PRESS
LIES AND VIDEOTAPE
Foreword
Nota Bene: After reading the article under discussion I contacted “The Olive Press”, asking for a retraction and an apology. I received neither acknowledgment nor reply
A week later I sent a repeat email.
This time Jon Clarke, publisher and editor replied, denying that anything was ‘libel’.
I sent a suggested form of words for the retraction and apology.
He replied repeating that they did not consider that there was any libel.


In view of this I believe I am entitled to assume that there is no reasonable prospect of a retraction, a correction, nor an apology.
The attitude of “The Olive Press” towards defamation may also be clear, as it was expressed in an article of November 2011, trumpeting under a 44-point-bold banner headline –
          WHY LIBEL IS NO BIG DEAL IN SPAIN                                                                   [1]


In the previous Chapter “Fake News” I looked at an article by Jon Clarke, the owner and publisher of a free newspaper in southern Spain “The Olive Press”.
I showed how that article, published in 2017, was seriously divergent from, and often contrary to facts as reported by other people. Notably, and potentially seriously, it directly contradicted much of what Kate McCann herself had written in her autobiography “madeleine”. But there the matter rested. It was discussed on several Fora, but was largely dismissed as “the usual nonsense”.

In late March 2019 I went into a supermarket in southern Spain, purchased a bottle of wine and wrapped it in one of the free tabloid papers helpfully supplied at the check-out for this purpose.
On this occasion it was “The Olive Press”. Vol.13 Issue 314 to be precise.

On page 3 is an article on the recent Netflix documentary about missing Madeleine Beth McCann, saying “The Olive Press” played a “starring role” [sic] and entitled “Hoping for Answers”.
The article is not attributed and is written in the third person, but is clearly by Jon Clarke.
As the publisher and editor of the paper he is ultimately responsible for its content.

In it I am identified by name, occupation and location, and then subjected to the routine, gratuitous ad-hominen insults and abuse sadly so typical of what we have come to expect of those who uncritically support the ‘official’ story put out by Team McCann and their acolytes and apologists.

In that article, 7 column inches are devoted to Clarke and the Netflix documentary, whilst 3.5 column inches are devoted to maligning and defaming me. 293 words - v - 140 words
One third of the entire article is devoted to entirely gratuitous abuse.

Gratuitous in that it does not address the central point of the article, which is to emphasise the importance of Clarke and “The Olive Press” in the Netflix programmes.
Gratuitous in that yet again it sets up and then knocks down the straw-man argument about “proving that the McCanns did not kill Madeline’ which it is unlikely anyone actually believes.

I am a long since retired police officer as he accurately states, from a previous millennium and perhaps from a more robust generation. I am hardened to abuse of the sort we come to expect from drunks, drug users, criminals and tabloid journalists.

But there is more. He goes on to make four distinct statements about me.
It is in the public domain, published in 100,000 copies, with huge numbers of readers both on-line and via Facebook and Android apps - his figures, not mine - and so I give a quote

“The former Nottinghamshire copper has long trolled that the parents were guilty and even produced a libellous pamphlet on why they did it. . . .
. . [he] once tried to claim that Olive Press editor Clarke could not have been in Praia da Luz on the morning after Maddie’s disappearance.
In a disgusting blog post he also somehow suggested that Clarke may have been in some way involved.”


Strong stuff. So perhaps a measured and proportionate response is not altogether unexpected.

Let us pick it apart. Let us be clinically detached, ignore the sneering and abusive tone, forget the libel, and stick to the facts of what is being said. Keep our eye on the squirrel.


       “Libellous pamphlet”
No pamphlet in this case has ever been adjudged to be libellous. Clarke is fully aware of this

      [he] . . . even produced . . a pamphlet . . .
I have never produced any pamphlet, libellous or otherwise. Clarke knows this

       once tried to claim that Clarke could not have been in Praia da Luz . . .
This is not true. Clarke knows this is not true

       he … suggested that Clarke may have been in some way involved
This is not true. Clarke knows this is not true

Here we have four distinct and discrete untruths. Jon Clarke knows that each one is untrue.

We can be absolutely sure of this because in each case he has previously published the ’real, true’ facts in other places including his own newspaper. He has previously published the identity of the person who did produce a leaflet and engage in ‘robust discussion‘. And it was not me. So these are not mistakes, errors, typos, mis-information, general editorial sloppiness, nor any of the other excuses normally trotted out on these occasions.

These are lies.
 It logically follows that Jon Clarke, Publisher and Editor of “The Olive Press”, is a liar
and that his newspaper “The Olive Press” deliberately and by design publishes lies.

* * * * * * * *

That might have been the end of the matter. As a person of reasonable fortitude I could have simply accepted that within the fortnight the cat litter trays, the parrot cages and the rubbish bins would have been cleaned and emptied, and that the lies would have disappeared with them – notwithstanding in the modern world they remain forever floating in the aether cloud of the internet.

But I suspected that I was dealing with something else; that I was dealing with organised and concerted mendacity. It is in the first part of the article, in which Clarke’s appearance in the Netflix documentary is featured, that we find very significant differences between what is being said now, and what was said in 2017, only two years ago, authored by the same Jon Clarke.

We need to examine extracts from these three versions together

2017 article in “The Olive Press”                                                                                            [5]

      “But for a couple of loving parents to murder their daughter, bury and cover all traces in an hour while on holiday is stretching it just a bit too far.
      But this didn’t stop the Portuguese police from charging them… “
      “When I arrived at about 11.45am I was firstly able to walk into the apartment, where I introduced myself to the McCanns and told them I would do everything I could to help.
      “The only reporter on the scene till late that evening – apart from Sky News reporter Kate Burley, who happened to be on holiday there – I spent time grilling neighbours, . . ”
      “Incredibly, we had to wait till late afternoon before a couple of sniffer dogs had arrived, which was amateur to say the least, given that Maddie had been reported missing a full 18 hours earlier.


2019 article in “The Olive Press”                                                                                             [4]

      “The Olive Press Editor, 50, was the first journalist on the scene in Praia da Luz the day after police began their disastrous attempt to find the toddler.
      “ . . he takes the crew around the resort, and reveals his shock at how laid back the police operation was and how he met the McCanns in those early hours.
      “Initially there was just a small bit of tape in front of the apartment, and then a bit at the side where the patio doors were,” he revealed in the film.
      “It wouldn’t have been difficult to walk in and have a look round. It certainly wasn’t Fort Knox,” he added.


2019 transcript from Netflix documentary                                                                            [7]

      “This is it, this is it.”
      “This is now what was the Mark Warner complex, the Ocean Club, this one here 5a
      “I said hello to them as they were leaving and introduced myself to them as a reporter from the Mail, and they said “Hi”, and I think they may have also said “thanks for coming”.


      “That was really unfortunately all I could get out of them at that point, so there really wasn’t much opportunity, sadly, to talk to the family about what had happened the night before.

      “Initially there was maybe just a small bit of tape here in front of the apartment, and a little bit at the side where the patio doors were.”
      “And then there was a note on the steps leading up, saying ‘Don’t go past this point’.


      It went up, and I looked in and the door was open and I think I tried to speak.
I didn’t, . . . I didn’t want to push my way through the door or into the apartment which obviously would have been a crime scene, so it wouldn’t have been appropriate to do that, but I got the impression it wouldn’t have been difficult to do that at all, to sort of walk in and take a look around, you know it certainly wasn’t Fort Knox.”


Readers will already realise that some of this is contradictory. In 2017 he says he walked into the apartment and spoke to the McCanns there. In 2019 he says he spoke to the McCanns as they left, and then did not enter the apartment. So let us deconstruct these “versions of the truth


We find a series of direct statements
          He arrived about 11:45am
          He was the only reporter till late that evening
          He was the first journalist on the scene
          Kate [Kay] Burley was there
          He walked into the apartment
          He did not walk into the apartment
          He met the McCanns in the apartment
          He met the McCanns as they were leaving
          He introduced himself, and told them he would do everything to help
          He introduced himself, and they said ‘Hi’, and may have said ‘thanks for coming
          There were no dogs until late afternoon
          The Portuguese police charged the McCanns

What is truly astonishing about this whole series of statements is not merely that some contradict others. It is that there is documentary evidence available in the public domain in the form of professionally recorded contemporaneous Video, which proves beyond a reasonable doubt that every one of those statements is untrue.
And Clarke, a professional journalist who has access to the internet and to search engines as we all do, must be fully aware that his lies can be, and will be exposed.
And yet he persists, and refuses to correct or apologise.

          He arrived about 11:45am

In her autobiography Kate covers the departure from the complex with the PJ for the initial statements. The statements are timed with Gerry McCann’s beginning at 1115, Tanner and Oldfield at 1130. Portimão police station is about 32 km from the apartment, and google.maps estimates the time to drive at around 32 min.
Allowing time for organising rooms, paper, interviewers and interpreters and other domestic matters this would indicate a departure time of around 1015 - 1030. This accords with Kate’s book, where she says “it was about 10am by the time a couple of PJ officers turned up”.

What Clarke has failed to notice or factor into his story is the one hour time difference between Spain, where he lives, and Portugal. This was pointed out in the ‘blog’ comments on the 2017 article, but he did not seem to grasp the importance of the detail.

This puts Clarke in PdL around 1045 local time or shortly before. In time to see the McCanns, Payne, Tanner and Oldfield leaving with the PJ in fact. And there is clear video evidence of this.

          He was the only reporter on the scene until late that evening

This is one of Clarke’s most bizarre statements. It seems totally pointless to print such an egregious lie about such an apparently unimportant issue.
The area was ‘swarming’ with reporters and camera crews. A group of 6 reporters including Clarke congregated in the car park outside apartment 5H waiting for them to leave. Clarke is seen on film speaking to one reporter, a woman, and standing within a yard of Len Port, a British journalist based just along the coast who had been there since 0830

          He was the first journalist on the scene . . .

This lie is repeated, even in 2019 when Clarke knew that the Netflix film would include video from 2007 showing this was simply untrue, and despite having access to Port’s book. He could have used the construction “among the first” but again chooses to print another untruth. It is unclear why. Len Port arrived about 0830, and has not only written about this, but was filmed by one of the camera crews. Port does not claim to have been the first – probably because he has no evidence that this was so, possibly because it is entirely irrelevant.

          Kate [Kay] Burley was there

In the 2017 article he names Kate Burley. Commentators on Clarke’s blog site pointed out the mistake in the name, and he altered the on-line version to KAY Burley. It was then pointed out that video exists of Ms Burley presenting the news in the UK that day, and that the person in question was actually a weather presenter, who was identified and named. He has never corrected the untruth, or apologised.

          He walked into the apartment

“When I arrived at about 11.45am I was firstly able to walk into the apartment, where I introduced myself to the McCanns”

In fact the place had been sealed off the previous evening, the McCanns who had been in another apartment overnight – the Payne’s, 5H – either ‘keeping vigil’ (Kate), or sleeping (Gerry) moved their remaining possessions early that morning into their new apartment, 5G, and shortly after 1000 were on their way to Portimao with the PJ
During the morning and afternoon the forensic people were in the apartment, there were dog handlers outside, and the place was crawling with reporters and film crews

          He did not walk into the apartment

In the Netflix documentary Clarke has now changed his story. He will have been aware that Netflix had access to the contemporaneous video footage, and was planning to include some clips. Those include footage of the tape and the warning notice he refers to.

“I didn’t want to push my way through the door or into the apartment which obviously would have been a crime scene, so it wouldn’t have been appropriate to do that, but I got the impression it wouldn’t have been difficult to do that at all, to sort of walk in and take a look around, “

His use of the negative of the conditional perfect tense - “wouldn’t have been difficult” - is a clear admission that he did not enter. He also excuses himself from so doing by rightly stating that it would have been inappropriate because it was a crime scene – or at least a missing person scene – and because it was taped off.

          He met the McCanns in the apartment

But the McCanns were not there. They had spent the night in the Payne’s apartment, and then the entire day in Portimão. They arrived back in PdL around 2030 and went straight to 5G, their newly allocated apartment. Food was provided and they did not go out again until 2200 to give the short press conference by torchlight.

          He met the McCanns as they were leaving


This is more intriguing. For this you should view the relevant video clip above, which can be slowed, and ‘clicked’ frame by frame. Full details are given in the Appendices. A series of annotated stills from the video can be seen at Appendix B.

Clarke is seen standing in the car park among the group of six journalists. He then leaves toward the camera, shaking hands with one of the 5 GNR police officers. As he moves out of shot to the left, Gerry McCann is seen in the distance leaving the stairwell, and walking into the car park on the right of shot.
From this point the camera follows the McCanns, Oldfield and Tanner as they walk with a PJ officer in a leather jacket to the waiting cars. They are joined by Payne, and are seeing getting into the cars and driving away.
Clarke is seen emerging from a row of marked police vehicles on the right of shot, striding into the middle of the road close to Len Port, and taking a photo. At no point is he close to the McCanns. Seconds before the car pulls away Payne is seen winding down the front passenger window and says something indistinct.
So unless Clarke shouted at the open window as the car begins to drive away it is unlikely that this polite exchange could have taken place as described. 
“I said hello to them as they were leaving and introduced myself to them as a reporter from the Mail, and they said “Hi”, and I think they may have also said “thanks for coming”.

          He told them he would do everything to help

It is unclear what part of a journalists professional duty it is to “help”. It suggests that the official story is already known. I shall return to this later

          He introduced himself, and they said ‘Hi’, and may have said ‘thanks for coming

This is a very different story, and implies something far shorter and less formal than the previous version.

          There were no dogs until late afternoon

Here Clarke uses the words. “Incredibly, we had to wait till late afternoon. . .
It is certainly incredible. It is unbelievable. We do not believe it.
For the simple reason that it is not true. It is another palpable lie.

 Len Port describes dogs searching during the early hours of the morning -
“As I moved around the village on foot there was at least one obvious manifestation of police activity. Police officers with search dogs on leads were vigorously combing the vicinity of the apartments, the area around the village church, on down towards the seashore and along the full length of the long curving beach. It was all being done in silence.”

In the few video clips referred to it is possible to identify no fewer than four dogs with their handlers. Two are black, one is black and white, and the fourth is a large golden Labrador. And these are only those filmed in the immediate vicinity of the apartment. Len Port is clearly describing yet more further afield.

To ensure that this was correct I contacted a Portuguese journalist who has followed this case
I referred to sentences taken from Clarke’s 2017 article
“From the word go, they did not take this crime seriously. “
“Incredibly, we had to wait till late afternoon before a couple of sniffer dogs had arrived, which was amateur to say the least, given that Maddie had been reported missing a full 18 hours earlier.”


I received the following email [edited with grammar and spelling corrected]

Around 2.00 am, May 4th, there were already more than a dozen GNR officers at Praia da Luz. The lieutenant-colonel in charge of Algarve area also was there, around 3.00 am. He called off-duty officers and brought others from at least 6 precincts in the Algarve. There were also 2 K2 [dog] units, from Portimão.
Around 4.00 am, the GNR commander called headquarters in Lisbon and asked them to send more K2 units, dogs more specialised in searching for missing persons. Those 3 units left Lisbon around 4.30 am and arrived at Praia da Luz around 8.00, starting immediately the searches.
In the early hours of the morning of May 4th, there were more than 20 GNR officers at the place, all access to the building was cordoned off, nobody could get closer than 20 meters, so everything that Clarke says is just a lie


Even more incredibly, the dog van and handlers were in the car park only feet from where Clarke walked as he left the scene. One camera crew was there taking film of the dogs and of the shutters, and was itself filmed doing so by a second film crew. It is inconceivable that Clarke did not notice, and so the inevitable conclusion is that for some reason he is choosing yet again to lie.

          The Portuguese police charged the McCanns
“But this didn’t stop the Portuguese police from charging them… “

It is difficult to know in which category of mendacity to place this, or whether to try to excuse it on the grounds of crass stupidity. But Clarke is not a stupid man. He is reasonably well educated and his craft depends on the use of the English language. He lives in a country with a Continental legal system ultimately based in Roman Law, and will be, or should be aware of the different roles adopted by GNR police, PJ, and of the role of the Public Prosecutor.

The McCanns have never been charged with anything. There is insufficient evidence to do so.
For many people that is the “causus belli”.

It is unlikely that Clarke has misinterpreted ‘arguido’ status as “charging them”. Most people by now understand the meaning of that term as ‘formal suspect’, equivalent to being ‘interviewed under caution’ despite the McCanns trying to deny that interpretation on oath at Leveson.

It may be instructive to compare Clarke’s mendacious style and somewhat Cavalier approach to truth, facts and evidence with what another British journalist, Len Port, who lives a short distance along the coast in Portugal, says in his book 'People in a Place Apart

Ch. 24. THE MADELEINE MYSTERY 
[Extract.] On arrival in the village before 8.30am on Friday 4th May 2007, I expected to see some urgent activity. A young British girl, Madeleine McCann, had gone missing the previous night. At first I saw no movement at all. The village was silent and still. While driving around, I came across a single police vehicle parked on the roadside at a junction of minor roads towards the back of the village. I parked directly behind it. A few uniformed police officers were standing outside a block of holiday apartments. The only other people in sight were two women in conversation close to a corner ground floor apartment, 5A.                                                                                                         [11]

Port then walked round the village, and was filmed by one of the many camera crews who were also beginning to arrive during the morning.
This is a still from one such video, showing Port by the pool to the south of the McCanns’ apartment. The heavy plastic tarpaulin screens of the notorious Tapas bar are clearly visible in front of him behind the yellow umbrellas.
If we look at the shadows of Port and of the palm tree and then replicate them on a N-S image from Google Maps, we observe that the image was recorded in the early morning, as stated.


Later in the chapter Port says
“As I moved around the village on foot there was at least one obvious manifestation of police activity. Police officers with search dogs on leads were vigorously combing the vicinity of the apartments, the area around the village church, on down towards the seashore and along the full length of the long curving beach. It was all being done in silence.”
“The tranquility outside apartment 5A gradually changed. As the morning and afternoon wore on, the number of people arriving on the scene steadily increased. Curious passers-by mingled with reporters, photographers, TV cameramen and staff manning outside broadcast vans. A mixture of Portuguese, British and other nationalities, we all stood around asking each other questions and wondering what had happened to the little girl.”


Paulo Reis makes trenchant observations about this phenomenon of journalists and reporters ‘feeding off each other’ in his blog article.                                                                                              [14]

How much more of this can we take ?

These untruths are in a different league from the normal Team McCann and Mitchell mendacity.
We have become inured to the McCann tactic of simple reversal of statements when the objective facts prove inconvenient

* The curtains were wide open - v - they were tight closed
* The abductor got in through broken shutters - v - did not enter through the window
* Gerry entered through the locked front door - v - through the unlocked patio door
* They had no wristwatches - v - they checked the time by their watches
* We never lied to anyone - v - we told a lie about Gerry having a stomach complaint


The McCanns are stuck with those lies for all time. They will be endlessly repeated whenever any claim is made that the McCanns are telling the truth. They can never escape them.
The late Antony Sharples, writing as John Blacksmith, discussed this in “The Foundation Lie”  [13]

But Clarke’s untruths are of a different order of magnitude.

To redeem himself and to try to recover some scintilla of professional credibility Clarke has to admit that it didn’t happen AT ALL.
He has to admit that he simply made it up; to state openly, that as an‘Investigative Journalist’, or indeed a journalist of any hue, and the publisher of a newspaper and on-line outlet, he simply invented a story; invented a meeting, invented dialogue, and twisted the available facts to fit some unknown agenda.

It is no longer open to him to say, “Well it did, but just not quite in that way

He either DID go into apartment 5A on arrival, or he did NOT

He either DID speak to the McCanns in the apartment shortly after he arrived in PdL on 4/5/7, or he did NOT

There either WERE police dogs present or there were NOT

The McCanns were either CHARGED or they were NOT

And these lies are now preserved on video, to be viewed by millions, exposed over and over again, for all time. He is stuck with it for all eternity.

Even if he had no ultimate editorial control the sequence must be:
- Netflix consult him about events
- Clarke inflates his own role about being first on the scene and first to speak to the McCanns
- Netflix write the screenplay to incorporate what Clarke said in the 2017 article
- Clarke is an important and integral part of the filming and editorial team
- Netflix put that part of the interview as voice-over to the video clip for emphasis
- "The Olive Press" then trumpets itself as playing a 'starring role' in the documentary

He also makes another revealing change, which we are perhaps supposed not to notice.
Is he following the McCann and Mitchell Rule-book and changing the story to make it fit the facts ?

In the film he has – or they have – now completely changed the order of events from –
2017 - went in and THEN spoke to the McCanns in the apartment. 
“When I arrived at about 11.45am I was firstly able to walk into the apartment, where I introduced myself to the McCanns”.

to a complete reversal – 
2019 - spoke to the McCanns as they were leaving (the film implying this was outdoors) and THEN went to the apartment
“I said hello to them as they were leaving and introduced myself to them as a reporter from the Mail, and they said “Hi”, and I think they may have also said “thanks for coming”.

Only then does he go to the gate and the stairs with the tape
And we see the notice indicating that even he as reporter should not enter
He waves to indicate something out of shot
And says : "It went up, and I looked in and the door was open, and I think I tried to speak.”
The words “It went up, . . .” are, curiously, a voice-over to a clip from 2007 of the stairs, the tape and the notice with an unidentified woman in shot, left, who is clearly holding a microphone, clearly a news reader and speaking directly to camera probably LIVE.
And his use of the construction "It went up," leads us to understand "The prohibition / the cordon / the exclusion zone went up, . . .
which makes his reluctance or failure to go into the apartment even more understandable and acceptable.

By saying he “tried to speak” he is also, of course, clearly admitting that there were already people IN the apartment to be spoken to. We know these were police and Forensic officers. As does he.
Which may be why he only “tried to speak” as his Portuguese may not be as fluent as his Spanish, and perhaps why he did not want to risk a confrontation and possible arrest, as he explains -

I didn’t . . . I didn’t want to push my way through the door or into the apartment which obviously would have been a crime scene, so it wouldn’t have been appropriate to do that,

[Just as an aside, the repeated “I didn’t . . [pause] . . I didn’t . . .” is potentially an interesting insight into the possible mental turmoil he may have been feeling as he repeated this version of a story he knew to be untrue and which he feared might one day be exposed]

The fact remains that the McCanns are in the shot – in an unbroken ‘real time’ sequence – from the car park, along the road, and getting into the car, and at no time does anyone approach them close enough to have a conversation. Tanner keeps behind the group, and Oldfield is seen using his body and arm as a physical shield the entire time. The sequence is unbroken until the first car is seen driving off and the camera pans to take in the entire convoy. The only ‘window of opportunity’ is when Paynes opens the passenger window, a sequence of rather less than 6 seconds, before the vehicle moves away.

Viewers must draw their own conclusions about whether Clarke really 
“ . . . said hello to them as they were leaving and introduced myself to them as a reporter from the Mail, and they said “Hi”, and I think they may have also said “thanks for coming”.

We note his use of the deliberately vague “I think they may . . .” Is this his escape route ?

If so it is a very long way from the 2017 version. 
“When I arrived at about 11.45am I was firstly able to walk into the apartment, where I introduced myself to the McCanns and told them I would do everything I could to help.”

Does Clarke have an escape route from that ?
Or can we now accurately describe the 2017 version as a Lie, on the simple grounds that
HE DIDN’T – AND THEY WERE NOT THERE

How many more untruths do we have to tolerate before we are allowed to say about “The Olive Press” and Jon Clarke –
- not that this is just sloppy writing about poorly remembered events –
- not that this is mere tabloid trash journalism –
- not that this is nothing more sinister than trying to sell a few more copies with ludicrous attention grabbing “Freddie-Starr-ate-my-hamster” headlines –
- not that this is innocent mistake or inadvertent misunderstanding –

but that this is a quite deliberate, studied, careful and calculated series of untruths.
Falsehoods published to a very particular end.

And if so, would this make Clarke a calculated liar, or perhaps, since he is very free with the accusation of “conspiracy theorist”, is he himself merely a highly paid pawn in something much bigger, of which perhaps even he knows nothing ?

Cui Bono ? Who benefits ?

What was the point of lying about me ? What did it benefit anyone ?
What was the point of lying by claiming to be the only, or even the first journalist at the scene ?
What was the point of lying by saying he went into the apartment ?
What was the point of lying by saying that he spoke to the McCanns, there and then ?
What was the point of lying by saying there were no dogs; by saying that Kate (or Kay) Burley was there; of claiming that a road crew was still digging up the street “literally right outside the apartment“ ?

Why did he not write articles based on the truth? It can be just as critical, just as sneering, just as disparaging. I am no journalist, but it is not difficult to do.                                           [APP C]


What led or has caused Clarke to publish this entire series of egregious, false and defamatory statements in his own newspaper “The Olive Press” over many years, to say nothing of the ludicrous ‘new leads’ that were then so eagerly picked up by “The Sun” and others ? [Olive Press passim.]

* * * * * * * * *

Jon Clarke and “The Olive Press” are no strangers to criticism of their antics.

In 2013 FAPE, the Federación de Associationes de Periodistas de España - the Spanish Journalists’ Association, handed down a judgment against “The Olive Press” and Jon Clarke for having published a long article entitled “Maddie? Yes, but not the one we were looking for . . .” and found it infringed Articles 4 and 13 of the FAPE Ethical Code for not having respected the right to personal and family privacy of M.A., a minor, and of her parents, Mr. L. A. and Mrs. R. E., and also did not bother to check the sources of the information.                                                                               [APP E]

The judgment continues [my translation]. “In the reasoning of this resolution it states that the journalist has acted with remarkable flippancy and published a scandalous story based on very flimsy material. The information published in "The Olive Press" is an example of irresponsible sensationalism to attract the attention of the prospective reader. Its content is pure charlatanry, "gossip" in the language in which it has been written and in journalistic language “amarillismo", [sensationalist journalism] always reprehensible but much more when an innocent subject of the information can be endangered”

The facts are that “The Olive Press” latched on to a young British girl who lived with her parents in a small village in southern Spain. It was her misfortune to be called Madeleine. Her photo was published, against the specific wishes of her parents, the family home was clearly identified, and inevitably hordes of tourists descended to take photos. The article bore the sub-title "Has Olive Press solved the connection of the Axarquia with the disappeared Madeleine McCann?

The answer was of course “No” which rendered the article otiose, irrelevant, and even more reprehensible.

Spurious ‘facts’ were invented about the parent’s employment and supposed travel to Thailand,

The journalist in question was contacted by the parents and exonerated herself saying that it was not her decision to publish the article in that way, but that of the editor Jon Clarke.

The incident in question had occurred over two years before publication.

Even more revealing is the fact that Clarke and “The Olive Press” had not contacted Operation Grange, nor apparently the Portuguese PJ with their ‘revelation’, and in reply to the complaint by the girl’s father it appears merely sent the draft of another article about their daughter, saying that in view of the complaint they had decided not to publish it.

The panel also noted “the report published in "The Olive Press" dominated its news items and pretends to be "investigative journalism" although this was cursory and elementary

She was merely one of many victims of ludicrous and lurid Olive Press stories.

A paedophile took Madeleine McCann, not her parents - (by which we assume that what Clarke means was not that a paedophile had intended to take her parents . . . ! ?
I saw Maddie in a supermarket on the Costa del Sol
Ex-soldier claims he saw Madeleine McCann by a Nerja swimming pool
Spanish Maddie mystery solved
I saw Madeleine McCann playing outside Costa del Sol beach restaurant
Could Maddie be alive and well in Nerja?
Gypsy link to Maddie

Article 13 of the FAPE Code is very clear
Art. 13. The commitment to the search for truth will always lead the journalist to publish only facts of which he knows the origin, without falsifying documents or omitting essential information, as well as not publishing false, misleading or distorted information.
In consequence:
a) A journalist must substantiate the information published, which includes the duty to check the sources and to give the opportunity to the affected person to offer their own version of the facts.
b) Journalists are warned that the spread of false, misleading or distorted material, will result in an obligation to correct the error with all speed and with the same typographic and / or audiovisual display used for its dissemination. Likewise, they will publish an apology when appropriate.

[I asked. Clarke refused.]                                                                                               [APP E]


******************

What is the force which drives a journalist who has been paid in the past by News International, to publish over a long period a series of stories clearly designed to defame and traduce the officers and the organisation of the Polícia Judiciária (PJ), and the officers and the organisation of the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR), not to mention the British Police and specialists including a dog handler and the many journalists and camera crews who attended the scene in the first days.

What is the motive behind insisting that the investigation was anything but the best that could reasonably be done under difficult circumstances, particularly given the misleading and contradictory information supplied to them by ‘witnesses’ ?

As a wider issue, what or who caused the British Press to turn from initial professional detachment to an all-out assault on anyone who dared question the ‘official’ story put out by the McCanns and their large team of advisors and sponsors ? An assault which manifestly continues to this day.
 
A Portuguese journalist, Paulo Reis, has interested himself in this latter aspect, writing first on his blog site about three undercover visits he paid to PdL to observe the manipulation of other journalists  - particularly British - and recording their ‘methods’ of obtaining information, and more recently authoring a book, “A Guerra os McCann”. ('The McCann's War') which is currently on sale, with the English translation in final proof reading.

In it he is able to identify the exact date from which the British Press changed from normal professional detachment to a concerted and mendacious attack on the Portuguese, their lifestyle, their Police and their legal system.

We remember that the McCanns notoriously paid Lord Bell of Bell-Pottinger half a million pounds –we suppose out of the “fund” to keep their story on the front pages of the papers for a year, whilst simultaneously complaining to Leveson about ‘Press Intrusion’.

Which then raises the question - was Clarke himself an innocent dupe ?

And here we are forced back to the so-called “conspiracy theory” that much of what the British press have published from very early has been on a concerted attempt to deflect from proper consideration and analysis of the available evidence.

How many ‘pieces of silver’ are the Press and journalists paid to keep this up ?
Who is controlling it, and why ?

Post scriptum
Everything I have said is based on materials freely available to anyone who cares about the truth.
I have no special skills, no sources of information nor access to documents or photos and videos not in the public domain.
Everything here is available to every journalist and every police officer and every member of the general public – everywhere.
I have tried to provide extensive references, and in the Appendices are series of photos, made up of screen shots taken from the video footages from Friday 4th May 2007, so that readers may draw their own conclusions.
If I have made mistakes, they are entirely mine, and I will correct and apologise.

I don't ask you to believe me. I am not a journalist, just the intended victim of one.
All I ask is that before judging – before making a decision –
before coming to your own view – before forming your own opinion –
you look at the evidence for yourself
All you need to do is “Keep your eye on the squirrel



Is this all just silly nit-picking over a short article in a free Tabloid supermarket paper ?

My integrity has been impugned and I feel entitled to respond proportionately, by addressing the cohort of people who follow this case and who read the evidence and opinions about it.

Clarke is a journalist and publisher. His craft is the use of the English Language. He is an educated man. He speaks standard received English, using normal grammar and syntax
without any noticeable regional or national dialect forms.

When he writes “I did this, then, there” we can suppose he reasonably intends us to believe it.
If we then find we can not, serious questions are raised.
Amongst the serious educated British ex-pat population round Ronda the word most often used about The Olive Press was “embarrassing”. To move the paper from that to “consistently mendacious, unreliable and abusive” is a serious step.
The paper’s reputation may take some time to recover.

Post-Post Scriptum
Whether Netflix will be impressed to discover that they have been so cynically manipulated to put out across the world this series of untruths is not yet known. Only time will tell.
And only Clarke can tell us for which of the untruths he
and “The Olive Press” – and by association Netflix –
prefer to be remembered.

* * * * *

Attached documents

References With relevant quotes

Appendix A Series of screen ‘grabs’ from various video clips, with links supplied

Appendix B Sequence of screen ‘grabs’ – showing McCanns leaving Pdl, and Clarke

Appendix C Suggested articles, in which truth and facts could have been honoured

Appendix D Ridicule making the point

Appendix E FAPE Judgment against Olive Press 2013/82

 
REFERENCES:

1 https://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2011/11/07/24455/
WHY LIBEL IS NO BIG DEAL IN SPAIN
By Eloise Horsfield - 7 Nov, 2011 @ 10:44


3 “The Olive Press” on-line article – 2019
“. . . he takes the crew around the resort, and reveals his shock at how laid back the police operation was and how he met the mccanns in those early hours.
“Initially there was just a small bit of tape in front of the apartment, and then a bit at the side where the patio doors were,” he revealed in the film.
“It wouldn’t have been difficult to walk in and have a look round. It certainly wasn’t Fort Knox,” he added

4 To access the Netflix documentary go to
https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=netflix
and enter 'The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann’

5 https://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2017/05/11/madeleine-mccann-olive-press-editor-talks-first-journalist-scene-10th-anniversary-disappearance/
I was completely shocked by the laid back manner the local authorities were dealing with the case that Friday morning.
When I arrived at about 11.45am I was firstly able to walk into the apartment, where I introduced myself to the McCanns and told them I would do everything I could to help.
The only reporter on the scene till late that evening – apart from Sky News reporter Kay Burley, who happened to be on holiday there – I spent time grilling neighbours, before noticing that a road crew was still digging up the street to lay sewage pipes literally right outside the apartment. The trench was nearly two metres deep and three men continued to shuffle around inside it.
Nobody had stopped them.
Incredibly, we had to wait till late afternoon before a couple of sniffer dogs had arrived, which was amateur to say the least, given that Maddie had been reported missing a full 18 hours earlier. 

I am not going to be able to solve the mystery, but I am convinced she was snatched by a local paedophile, who had been watching the family’s movements.

Crews interviewed publisher of Spain’s biggest expat paper Jon Clarke, who was the first UK print journalist in the resort when the news broke of Maddie’s disappearance some 12 years ago.
In the new documentary, Clarke travels to Portugal and retraces his steps in 2007 with the film crew.
Directed by Chris Smith, the man behind Fyre: The Greatest Party that Never Happened, and executive produced by Emma Cooper and produced by UK-based Pulse Films in association with Paramount Television, the series has access to never-before-heard testimonies from those at the heart of the story including friends of the McCann family, investigators working the case and from those who became the subjects of media speculation and rumour.

Netflix added: “By blending new interviews with more than 40 contributors, 120 hour of interviews, archival news footage and reenactments, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann takes an insightful look at the facts of the case as well as its impact on media standards around the world and the emotional effect on those involved entrenched in the investigation.

“The series gives a unique look behind the headlines to offer new perspectives on the story; a story that became more than just a missing child investigation but a global obsession in the search for the truth, amidst accusations of police incompetence and suspicions at every turn."
 
7 Transcript Netflix. (NB. This is not official. It has been prepared by several people who have listened on multiple occasions, refining it each time. It may not therefore be absolutely word perfect, and may not include the normal grammatical mistakes we find in spontaneous speech.

Jon: “This is it, this is it.”
“This is now what was the Mark Warner complex, the Ocean Club, this one here 5a.
“I said hello to them as they were leaving and introduced myself to them as a reporter from the Mail, and they said “
Hi”, and I think they may have also said “thanks for coming”.

“That was really unfortunately all I could get out of them at that point, so there really wasn’t much opportunity, sadly, to talk to the family about what had happened the night before.

“Initially there was maybe just a small bit of tape here in front of the apartment, and a little bit at the side where the patio doors were.”
“And then there was a note on the steps leading up, saying
‘Don’t go past this point’.

It went up, and I looked in and the door was open and I think I tried to speak. I didn’t . . . I didn’t want to push my way through the door or into the apartment which obviously would have been a crime scene, so it wouldn’t have been appropriate to do that, but I got the impression it wouldn’t have been difficult to do that at all, to sort of walk in and take a look around, you know it certainly wasn’t Fort Knox.”

8madeleine’, by Kate McCann, 2011, Bantam Press,

9 'A Verdade da Mentira', by Dr Gonçalo Amaral, 2008, Guerra & Paz, 12th Ed.

10 http://www.gerrymccannsblogs.co.uk/Nigel/
http://www.mccannpjfiles.co.uk/
http://www.mccannpjfiles.co.uk/PJ/TRANSLATIONS.htm

11 http://www.gerrymccannsblogs.co.uk/press/86june14/LenPort_June2014.htm
People in a Place Apart https://www.amazon.com/People-Place-Apart-Len-Port-ebook/dp/B00ICPIUN4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403280609&sr=8-1&keywords=len+port#_


13 http://blacksmithbureau.blogspot.com/2018/08/the-foundation-lie.html
21 August 2018
“In inventing an illness, a virus, as a cover, Kate McCann was more prescient than she knew: the lie had uncontrollable consequences, was itself like a virus - first destroying Kate McCann’s remaining credibility, then calling into question that of her husband’s version of the day, then running rampant through the supposed truthfulness of his blogs and, finally, exposing his public statements about the whole period from mid-July to the end of August as a pack of lies.”

14 Paulo Reis, undercover in PdL
https://gazetadigitalmadeleinecase.blogspot.com/2018/05/why-i-went-undercover-to-praia-da-luz.html

15 A Guerra os McCann, (The McCann’s War), Paulo Reis, 2019, Guerra & Paz
Paulo Reis’ book about the way in which the British press appear to have been traduced and manipulated within a relatively short time, and showing how anyone who spoke against or questioned the “official’ story was either silenced, expunged or “whooshed’ from the record, is in the course of printing.
The English translation is in the process of final proof-reading.


APPENDIX A
PHOTOS AND ‘GRABBED’ IMAGES FROM VIDEO

This is just a small selection of photos and ‘grabbed’ shots from the various videos which are available to anyone on-line and at no cost.

The main references are given, and from the first it is easy to navigate to the others.
All the ones here are dated 4th May 2007 on the stamp which exhibits at the side of each clip


So far as it is possible to ascertain, all the shots here were taken during the early to mid-morning of Friday 4th May 2007
In several there is a clear view of the shadows cast by buildings or by people.
Solar zenith on 4/5/7 – when the sun is at its highest and exactly South, was 13:32

From the angle of the shadow, and knowing the direction or bearing of the road or location in question, and then referring to a map, most easily on google.maps or google earth, it is very simple to estimate the time of day when the image was captured.

https://www.gettyimages.pt/detail/v%C3%ADdeo/exterior-shots-of-the-ocean-club-apartments-after-filme-de-not%C3%ADcias/649701658

https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/video/exterior-shots-of-gerry-and-kate-mccann-departing-the-news-footage/487715646

https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/video/exterior-shots-of-police-searching-the-exterior-of-the-news-footage/649707852

https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/video/exterior-shots-of-tourists-outside-the-ocean-club-news-footage/649708440

https://www.gettyimages.es/detail/v%C3%ADdeo/madeleine-mccann-disappearance-scotland-yard-v%C3%ADdeos-de-noticias/649681146

https://www.gettyimages.pt/detail/v%C3%ADdeo/exterior-shots-of-the-ocean-club-apartments-after-filme-de-not%C3%ADcias/649701658

https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/video/exterior-shots-around-the-ocean-club-apartments-in-pria-news-footage/487715446
Search with Golden Labrador, then Clarke in car park, followed by GM leaving

This clip is immediately followed by

https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/video/exterior-shots-of-gerry-and-kate-mccann-departing-the-news-footage/487715646
Sequence of McCanns leaving OP and being driven away. Clarke taking photos

The two have been spliced back together and the full sequence may be viewed at 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRe3g25ma4o

https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/video/exterior-shots-of-tourists-outside-the-ocean-club-news-footage/649708440
GNR officers at OC reception. Len Port in shot

https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/video/exterior-shots-of-the-beach-and-ocean-at-praia-da-luz-news-footage/649700450
Beach and rocks

https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/video/exterior-shots-of-police-searching-the-exterior-of-the-news-footage/649707852
Shows 3 police dogs with handlers, journalists, and camera crew

https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/video/exterior-shots-of-police-and-members-of-the-public-news-footage/649708278
Search of waste ground with GNR officers and members of public

https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/video/exterior-shots-of-police-searching-the-grounds-of-the-news-footage/649701232
GNR officer putting notice on stairs, 2 video crews, dog with handler

https://www.gettyimages.es/detail/v%C3%ADdeo/madeleine-mccann-disappearance-scotland-yard-v%C3%ADdeos-de-noticias/649681146
Fingerprint officer and Forensic team, dogs, handlers and tape

* * * * *

Appendix C 
Suggested articles, in which truth and facts could have been honoured

Lest I be accused of not understanding how difficult it is to write an article to include the truth, but to maintain an overall critical tone. . . or to do it in a supportive way

My words, my phrasing, my style, but in accordance with the facts. Is it any less of a story ?

VERSION 1
I was still only half awake when the phone rang. It was the Mail, with a story they wanted me to follow. I recognised the sense of urgency.

I was being phoned at 7.15, to be sent 400 km – 250 miles – into another country, to look for a story about a missing girl who could have been found at any time, and certainly long before I even got close. There was clearly more to this than I had been told, and I was determined to find out what it was. The word the Mail had used was “Abduction”. Clearly a most serious case, and perhaps I may be forgiven if under the circumstances I took speed limits to be ‘purely advisory’

I got there by late morning. There is a time difference between Spain and Portugal which can be disorientating, and the exact time time is not important.

I got there. And that is.

I was only just in time to see a couple I assumed to be the McCanns and some others I assumed to be some of their friends being hastily bundled into a cars and taken away.

Everyone else was filming them so it was an obvious conclusion. It turned out to be right.

I had time for a couple of hurried photos for reference later, but that was all.

I desperately wanted to talk to them, but that had to wait for a few days.

All around was total chaos. Uniform police with radios, plain clothes officers with clip boards, handlers with dogs, camera crews with video equipment and tripods, journalists of all nationalities – all trying to find something, some evidence, some scrap of a ‘hook’ on which to hang a story.

Police were refusing to give details. At that stage we didn’t even know the outline of the story.

Cars and vans were looking for places to park, the Police were ineffectually trying to create some semblance of order out of the chaos . . It was not easy to see who, if anyone, was in charge.

I wasn’t difficult to spot the apartment. It was crawling with police and Forensic science people in their “Oompaloompa” white suits, so I went round to the side entrance, with the little gate and the staircase up to the balcony and the sliding patio door that became such an important part of the story a week later.

It was only protected by a bit of police tape and a hastily printed A4 sheet of paper sellotaped to the handrail making it quite clear that no one was to be permitted access. I do admit I was very tempted to ‘duck the tape’ and try to have a look inside, but the thought of a couple of hours in the cell at the local police station did not appeal.

So I busied myself talking to neighbours and residents, none of whom had been spoken to by Police that stage, and gradually built up a picture of the facts that were then known, and then explored further into the small town towards the beach and the sea. That is where I found the uncovered deep trenches and road works, and the dreadful possibility occurred to me . . .

(Continues in the same vein for several paragraphs . . .)

* * *

Could he have written this ?
Yes

Is it factually correct ?
Yes
Did he ?
No


VERSION 2
I was barely half awake when the phone rang. It was the Mail, with a story they wanted me to follow. I recognised the sense of urgency.

I was being phoned at 7.15, to be sent 400 km – 250 miles – a 4 hour drive – into another country, to look for a story about a little ‘missing’ girl who could obviously have been found at any time, and certainly long before I even got close. There was clearly more to this than I had been told, and as an Investigative Journalist my suspicions were instantly aroused. Perhaps I may be forgiven if at times and under the circumstances I took speed limits to be ‘advisory’

I got there by late morning. Even as I arrived the McCanns and some of their friends were being escorted to unmarked police vehicles and taken away for statements.

I wanted to talk to them, but in the event that was never possible for other reasons I shall explain later. I took a few photos for reference purposes, and then started to look round.

To the amateur or untrained eye it always looks like total chaos. Uniform police with radios, plain clothes officers with clip boards, handlers with dogs – both the general purpose black ones and an obviously specialist Golden Labrador – camera crews with tripods, journalists of all nationalities including an ex-pat Brit who I knew, cars and vans arriving.

But I could see that the GNR Police were dealing with logistics and had the traffic under control. They had designated specific areas for the TV lorries and for private cars, and were keeping the public and reporters well away from the area. I spoke to a couple of them, and then concentrated on trying to find a PJ detective to get some details.

I wasn’t difficult to spot the apartment. It was taped off, and a fingerprint woman was crouched in front of a shuttered window, using the red ‘Dragons Blood’ powder I have seen so many times before. I made a mental note that the shutters were down and seemed in good condition. I don’t know why. I suppose it was my years as an Investigative journalist which made me notice this, as I hadn’t yet heard the story about the shutters being ‘broken, smashed, forced or jemmied’ which became such an important issue later. Put it down to a ‘sixth sense’, or a ‘journalist’s nose’.

There were uniformed police officers outside, and the Forensic science people in their protective white suits, masks and overshoes were going in and out.

I went round to the side entrance, with the little gate and the staircase up to the balcony and looked up at the sliding patio door that became the second important part of the story a week later.

More police tape and a laminated A4 notice in two languages sellotaped to the banister made it quite clear that no one was to be permitted access. The GNR and PJ were clearly in control.

I do admit I was very tempted to ‘duck the tape’ and try to have a look inside. I tried to speak to a couple of officers, but the language barrier between my fluent Spanish and spoken Portuguese is too great.

The lack of information is always frustrating. I know from long experience as an Investigative journalist on the Costa del Sol how difficult it is to find facts. Some time ago I followed the story of an British ex-pat who I exposed as a man wanted for serious crimes in the UK. I like to think I was instrumental in helping bringing him to justice, and my book ‘The Costa Killer’ was a bestseller for a time, but I can vividly remember how frustrating it was not to be able to read the Police files or interview detectives in depth.

So I busied myself talking to neighbours and residents, and gradually built up a picture of the facts that were then known, and comparing notes with the other journalists, someone whom spoke better Portuguese than I do.

It was later that morning when I heard the relatives on TV giving the story about the broken and smashed shutters.

To be absolutely sure, I went back and looked for myself.

They were not.

My professional ‘antennae’ began to twitch.

(Continues in the same vein for several paragraphs . . .)

* *

Could he have written this ?
Yes

Is it factually correct ?
Yes
Did he ?
No
 * * * * *

Appendix D
Ridicule making the point

APPENDIX D

There are times when ridicule seems to be the best way of making a point
Clarke - “. . . the only reporter on the scene till late afternoon”
“The Olive Press Editor, 50, was the first journalist on the scene in Praia da Luz”
“From the word go, they did not take this crime seriously.”
“I was firstly able to walk into the apartment, where I introduced myself to the McCanns . .”
“The only reporter on the scene till late that evening . . .”
“The only reporter on the scene till late that evening . . .
Incredibly, we had to wait till late afternoon before a couple of sniffer dogs had arrived,”
“the first journalist on the scene . . .”
“When I arrived at about 11.45am I was firstly able to walk into the apartment,”
“Incredibly, we had to wait till late afternoon before a couple of sniffer dogs had arrived”
“From the word go, they did not take this crime seriously.”

 * * * * *
Appendix E 
FAPE Judgment against Olive Press 2013/82

RESOLUCIÓN 2013/82
Sobre la obligación de respetar el derecho a la intimidad personal y familiar de
una menor de edad, y de sus padres, y el deber de contrastar las fuentes y dar
la oportunidad a la persona afectada de ofrecer su propia versión de los
hechos.

Denuncia de los padres de una menor, al diario Olive Press.

La Comisión de Arbitraje, Quejas y Deontología de la Federación de Asociaciones de
Periodistas de España (FAPE), ha dictado resolución por la que considera que las
información publicada en el diario Olive Press, titulada Maddie? Si …. pero no la
buscada, infringe los arts. 4º y 13 del Código Deontológico FAPE por no haber respetado
el derecho a la intimidad personal y familiar de M. A., menor de edad, y de sus padres, el
señor L. A. y la señora R. E., ni haber cuidado de contrastar las fuentes de la información,
no dándoles además la oportunidad de ofrecer su propia versión sobre los hechos.
En los razonamientos de esta resolución, se señala que la periodista ha actuado con
notoria ligereza y montado un reportaje escandaloso con materiales muy endebles. La
información publicada en “The Olive Press” es un ejemplo de sensacionalismo
irresponsable para atraer la atención del eventual lector. Su contenido es charlatanería en
estado puro, “gossip” en el idioma en el cual se ha escrito y en el lenguaje periodístico
“amarillismo “, siempre reprochable pero mucho más cuando se puede poner en peligro al
sujeto pasivo de la información.

I.- SOLICITUD
DON L. A. y DOÑA R. E. residentes en una pequeña localidad de la provincia de Málaga, en su
propio nombre y en representación de su hija menor de edad Madeleine, presentan ante
esta Comisión una Reclamación en relación con la publicación de un articulo en el
periódico The Olive Press editado por la entidad Luke Stewart Media S.L., cuyo
administrador único y editor jefe del medio es Don Jon Clarke, bajo el titulo "Habrá
resuelto Olive Press la conexión de la Axarquia con la desaparecida Madeleine McCann?",
realizado por la periodista Doña Wendy Williams

II.- HECHOS DENUNCIADOS
1. En Mayo del año 2012 el periódico The Olive Press (Luke Stewart Media S.L.,
administrador único (y editor jefe) Don Jon Clarke, ha publicado un articulo bajo
el titulo "Habrá resuelto Olive Press la conexión de la Axarquia con la desaparecida
Madeleine McCann?", realizado por la periodista Doña Wendy Williams con el visto
bueno de Don Jon Clarke. En dicho artículo se relacionó a mi hija que se llama
Madeleine con el caso de la desaparecida Madeleine McCann, indicando el nombre
completo de mi hija, publicando la foto de la fachada de mi casa con el número (dicha
foto ha sido realizada por Doña Wendy Williams y publicada sin nuestro
consentimiento y conocimiento), así como el nombre de mi marido y el mío Los
informaciones publicados acerca de nuestro edades y nuestro supuesto trabajo
en Tailandia son falsos e inventados.

2. Nosotros nos hemos opuesto expresamente a esta publicación informando a
Doña Wendy Williams que no deseamos que se mencione a nuestra hija en
ningún artículo. Solamente por el aviso de un compañero de trabajo nos
hemos dado cuenta que sí se ha publicado el articulo mencionando nuestra hija.
Nos hemos puesto en contacto con la Sra. Williams quien a su vez se ha
exculpado diciendo que no ha sido su decisión publicar el artículo de esta forma,
sino la del editor Don Jon Clarke. En consecuencia durante todo el verano ha
aparecido gente tomando fotos de nuestra casa sin que sepamos quienes son.

3. El pueblo de ******* es pequeño y con los datos publicados es muy fácil
encontrar a mi hija y acceder a ella, lo que nos deja completamente
desprotegidos. En diciembre del año pasado un pederasta británico ha intentado
secuestrar a una niña en la ciudad de Vélez-Málaga cerca de *******, y este
hombre sigue en libertad lo que nos preocupa mucho ya que también esta
clase de personas puede localizar nuestra hija sin problemas.

4. Hemos contactado con el inspector de policía en Inglaterra quien lleva la
investigación acerca de la desaparición de Madeleine McCann y nos ha
confirmado que ni la Sra. Wendy Williams ni Sr. Clarke se han puesto en contacto con el
antes de publicar la historia. Hemos mandado una carta al Sr. Clarke
expresando nuestro disgusto sobre su publicación. La única respuesta del
Sr. Clarke ha sido el borrador de un artículo en que nuevamente
quería retomar el tema de mi hija y que al final no ha publicado ya que le
hemos denunciado.

III.- NORMAS DEONTOLÓGICAS QUE SE CONSIDERAN VULNERADAS
Art. 4. Sin perjuicio de proteger el derecho de los ciudadanos a estar
informados, el periodista respetara el derecho de las personas a su propia intimidad e
imagen, teniendo presente que:
a) Solo la defensa del interés público justifica las intromisiones o
indagaciones sobre la vida privada de una persona sin su previo
consentimiento.
b) En el tratamiento informativo de los asuntos en que medien elementos de
dolor o aflicción en las personas afectadas, el periodista evitará la
intromisión gratuita y las especulaciones innecesarias sobre sus
sentimientos y circunstancias.
c) Las restricciones sobre intromisiones en la intimidad deberán
observarse con especial cuidado cuando se trate de personas ingresadas en
Centros hospitalarios o en instituciones similares.
d) Se prestará especial atención al tratamiento de asuntos que afecten a la
infancia y a la juventud y se respetará el derecho a la intimidad de los menores.

Art. 5. El periodista debe asumir el principio de que toda persona es inocente
mientras no se demuestre lo contrario y evitar al máximo las posibles
consecuencias dañosas derivadas del cumplimiento de sus deberes
informativos. Tales criterios son especialmente exigibles cuando la
información verse sobre temas sometidos al conocimiento de los
Tribunales de Justicia.
a) El periodista deberá evitar nombrar en sus informaciones a los
familiares y amigos de personas acusadas o condenadas por un delito,
salvo que su mención resulte necesaria para que la información sea
completa u equitativa.
b) Se evitará nombrar a las víctimas de un delito, así como la publicación de
material que pueda contribuir a su identificación, actuando con
especial diligencia cuando se trate de delitos contra la libertad sexual.

Art. 6. Los criterios indicados en los dos principios anteriores se aplicarán con extremo rigor
cuando la información pueda afectar a menores de edad. En particular, el periodista
deberá abstenerse de entrevistar, fotografiar o grabar a los menores de edad
sobre temas relacionados con actividades delictivas o enmarcarles en el ámbito de la
privacidad.

Art. 13. El compromiso con la búsqueda de la verdad llevará siempre al periodista a informar sólo
sobre hechos de los cuales conozca su origen, sin falsificar documentos ni omitir informaciones
esenciales, así como a no publicar material informativo falso, engañoso o deformado.
En consecuencia:
a) Deberá fundamentar las informaciones que difunda, lo que incluye el deber que contrastar
las fuentes y el de dar la oportunidad a la persona afectada de ofrecer su propia versión
de los hechos.
b) Advertida la difusión de material falso, engañoso o deformado, estará obligado a
corregir el error sufrido con toda rapidez y con el mismo despliegue tipográfico
y/o audiovisual empleado para su difusión. Asimismo difundirá a través de su
medio una disculpa cuando así proceda.

IV.- DOCUMENTOS QUE SE ACOMPAÑAN EN LA DEMANDA
Fotocopias de los DNI's, de los reclamantes y de su hija, el artículo del
periódico con su traducción al español y carta al Sr. Clarke con su traducción,
así como sendos certificados.

Se transcriben a continuación, el artículo objeto de denuncia, así como la
carta dirigida por los reclamantes al editor del The Olive Press Don Jon Clarke.
Maddie? Si …. pero no la buscada
Podría haber resuelto live Press la conexión entre Axarquia y la desaparición de
Madeleine McCann?
Por Wendy Williams.
Desde luego él puede ser perdonado por pensar que la chica rubia de habla inglesa podía
haber sido la desaparecida Madeleine McCann. Después de todo, la chica se le acercó para
decirle: “Soy Madeleine”, antes de desaparecer en el pequeño pueblo de *******, Axarquia,
hace dos años.
“Ya nos habíamos fijado en ella por su parecido asombroso con la niña desaparecida”, explicó
el residente Joe Arbuckle, 64, que estaba tomando café con su esposa Josephine en la plaza
principal.
“A continuación, ella vino a nuestra mesa y dijo de repente: soy Madeleine”. “Fue realmente
extraño y la forma en la que lo dijo fue como si hubiese dicho ¡Soy Elvis!”.
A la confusión se añadió la aparición de un hombre que explicó que la chica –que era de la
misma edad que Maddie- estaba “ahora en la escuela del pueblo”. Él añadió que sus dos
padres eran profesores que viven en Tailandia.
“Cuando me di la vuelta, la chica se había ido”, explicó el dueño del bar de Fuengirola.
Arbuckle estaba tan convencido de que era Maddie que llamó tres veces a la policía para que
le hiciesen un seguimiento, pero nunca le devolvieron las llamadas. Después de haber pasado
los dos últimos años en los que deseó haber hecho más, él se alegró cuando Olive Press
comenzó a investigar.
Y ahora, nosotros podemos tener la mente tranquila, ya que la chica en cuestión es de hecho
Madeleine ******, de nueve años, una chica inglesa que ha vivido en el pueblo durante varios
años.
Es una extraña coincidencia que la niña viviese con sus padres L******, 70 y R***** 44, en una
casa llamada “Casa Madeleine”. Además, en realidad no es la primera vez que sus padres son
abordados por la semejanza.
“Sucedió una vez en un supermercado”, su padre, un profesor jubilado de Tyneside, dijo a
Olive Press. “Hay coincidencias, ella es rubia, de la misma edad y se llama Madeleine”. Él
añadió: “Realmente el caso/asunto me ha afectado tremendamente”. “Compré el libro de los
McCann y fui incapaz de terminarlo supe lo que sucedería”. “Como padres de una niña de esa
edad que vive en un país extranjero, nosotros somos excepcionalmente cuidadosos”.
Mientras tanto, Arbuckle ha agradecido a Olive Press su investigación “Sherlock Holmeslike”.
“Realmente, mi mente puede estar tranquila. He estado pensando sobre esto durante dos
años y realmente me afectó … ahora yo puedo seguir adelante”

Carta a Don Jon Clarke
Señor Clarke:
Le escribo esta carta con un gran peso en el corazón y con un presentimiento profundo, en
un esfuerzo para ayudarle a comprender el estrés y el daño potencial que ha producido para
mi hija, para mi familia más cercana y mi familia lejana el artículo que usted publicó en su
periódico y en Internet.
En su reportaje ustedes publicaron el nombre entero de mi hija, su edad y una foto detallada de
nuestra casa, que constituye su lugar de seguridad. La información que fue imprimida acerca
de nosotros, sus padres, fue falsa. Fueron ridículos el titular engañoso y el intento transparente
y poco convincente de suscitar interés estableciendo una conexión entre este reportaje
infundado y el caso de Madeleine McCann. Fueron totalmente nauseabundos el alarde
jactancioso de su periodista y del periódico en general por un trabajo bien hecho. Todo esto
representa lo peor del periodismo más mezquino, despreciable y descuidado.
Ninguno de sus "periodistas investigadores premiados" ni usted jamás han conocido a
nuestra hija.
Su periódico presume de tener lectores muy literatos y exigentes para atraer a clientes
lucrativos para sus servicios publicitarios. Era evidente a cualquier persona capaz de pensar de
una manera inteligente que esto siempre iba a ser un reportaje infundado; efectivamente, esto
fue confirmado por su periodista Wendy Williams al visitamos cuando menos se lo esperaba
un día por la tarde a principios de mayo para decimos que alguien creía que habíamos
secuestrado a Madeleine McCann y que aquella persona había sufrido durante dos años
noches sin dormir, inquietándose por sus sospechas. Claro que fue establecido muy
rápidamente y fácilmente que no era así. Y esto debería haber puesto punto final a la historia.
Sin embargo, se ha usado un elemento de chantaje en un intento de persuadirnos para que
aceptáramos que se produjera un reportaje, con el razonamiento de que la familia McCann
había pedido específicamente que los medios imprimiesen cualquier reportaje que
mantuviera viva la memoria de su hija en la conciencia del público. Wendy nos pidió
permiso para hacer una foto de mi hija Madeleine. Yo contesté rotundamente que "No", y
volví a afirmar que no quería que se publicara ningún artículo sobre mi hija.
¿Por qué tomamos esta decisión?
Tenemos un gran sentido de empatía hacia la familia McCann, y somos conscientes del
dolor que sin duda experimentan. En efecto, en una conversación con su periodista, antes de
la cual me aseguró que mi conversación con ella sería totalmente confidencial, yo expresé
mis opiniones sobre la desaparición de Madeleine McCann y mis preocupaciones sobre la
seguridad de mi propia hija.
Hablando con Wendy, dejé muy claro que la madre de Madeleine tomaría la decisión final
sobre este asunto. El mensaje que Ruth dejó después en el contestador automático de
Wendy dejó claro que ninguno de nosotros dos quería que nuestra hija estuviera expuesta a
esta publicidad, y le pidió que nos llamara. Wendy nunca devolvió la llamada. El artículo que
realzaba el 24 de mayo como Día Nacional de los Niños Desaparecidos y que apareció
luego en su periódico fue provocado por la sugerencia de Ruth que se publicara un artículo
alternativo que podría mencionar a Madeleine McCann, pero SIN mencionar a nuestra
propia hija. Al ver aquel artículo sobre el Día Nacional de los Niños Desaparecidos,
estuvimos satisfechos de que se hubiera respetado nuestro deseo expresado tan
claramente de que no se hiciera ninguna conexión en absoluto entre nuestra hija y cualquier
reportaje sobre Madeleine McCann; supusimos que ya estuviera terminantemente concluido
el asunto estrafalario de la visita de la periodista investigadora.
Fue un profesor d la Universidad de Málaga quien, el 1 de junio, alertó a Ruth, diciéndole
que "figurabas como noticia a doble página en el centro del periódico, con fotos de tu hogar,
Casa Madeleine, y con varios detalles personales..." y hasta "tiene una foto de tu hija", lo
que cual es comprensible, dado la manera en que se presenta el artículo.
Ruth me llamó inmediatamente, y yo dediqué todo aquel fin de semana a tratar de conseguir
que se tomen en serio mis verdaderas preocupaciones. Al recibir una copia del mismo
artículo, me sentí totalmente nauseado, pues resultaba mucho peor que uno jamás hubiera
podido imaginar. En aquella página, presentados a todo color, se veían el nombre de
nuestra casa, realzado en una foto de nuestra casa. Allí se leían el nombre de nuestra hija,
su edad, su pueblo y con la insinuación de que es amistosa y le gusta hablar con los
desconocidos.
En una de mis conversaciones telefónicas con su periodista me dijo que había tratado de
persuadirle a usted que no imprimiera el artículo pero que usted había insistido y que ella se
había sentido incapaz de resistir su decisión, siendo usted su editor y su patrón. En aquella
conversación telefónica yo expresé mi punto de vista de que en tales circunstancias ella debería
dimitir.
Usted ha autorizado la publicación de este artículo, en copia impresa y en Internet, y usted
debe aceptar la responsabilidad total de las consecuencias de esta decisión.
Todos los muchos expertos y agencias de la puericultura con los cuales he hecho contacto
han expresado alarma e indignación ante el hecho de que se haya dado publicidad tan
extendida a los detalles personales, a la dirección, y a una fotografía del hogar de una niña
de nueve años que no ha hecho nada sino tener el nombre Madeleine.
Durante mi segunda conversación con usted el 4 de junio, usted me preguntó por qué esto me
preocupaba tanto. Le contesté que había dedicado mi vida profesional a trabajar en Inglaterra
y en Rusia con niños vulnerables y maltratados y que habían sufrido de abuso sexual. Mi
experiencia profesional me ha hecho demasiado consciente de la posibilidad de actividades
cometidas por adultos que imitan las actividades de otros, pretendiendo hacerles daño a
los niños. Me pareció que usted rechazaba esta opinión, diciendo que no era relevante al
caso, y que usted no aceptaba que pudiera haber una consecuencia potencialmente
devastadora para nuestra hija como resultado del artículo que usted autorizó y publicó
Desafortunadamente tengo que decirle que ya han empezado a llegar los efectos negativos
en mi hija. Hoy fue necesario tener una larga conversación con ella para explicarle como
mejor podía exactamente lo que ha sucedido.
Volvió a casa después de las clases desconcertada y consciente de que algo no estaba bien,
y necesitaba explicaciones. Habiendo escuchado nuestros mejores intentos de explicar lo que
nos preocupaba y de asegurarle que haríamos todo lo que podíamos para protegerla y cuidarla,
se recostó en su silla y dijo:
"Ahora que sé lo que está pasando, me siento aliviada por el hecho de saberlo, pero sabiéndolo,
otra vez me siento muy preocupada." Con la sabiduría inocente de una niña nos preguntó:
"¿Por qué me han causado tantos problemas? No soy nada más que una chica ordinaria, pues,
¿tendré que ser para siempre la doble de cuerpo de Madeleine McCann? Yo quería hacerme algo
significativo, quizás hacer algo especial para mí misma. Y yo quería hacerme periodista. Pero, ¿por qué han hecho esto? Aquella historia no tiene sentido."
Esta mañana su personal por fin quitaron el artículo ofensivo del Internet, después de que
insistimos durante mucho tiempo. No debería NUNCA haber aparecido.
La versión imprimida nunca puede ser anulada, puesto que ya existe en el dominio público.
Dado el contenido de la conversación que tuve con su periodista cuando nos visitó, me inquieta
mucho el hecho de que ustedes no hubiesen tenido la gentileza de llamamos por teléfono para
advertimos que ustedes habían decidido no hacer caso de nuestra súplica al pedirles que no
publicaran nada acerca de nuestra hija.
En una de sus conversaciones conmigo Wendy Williams dijo que yo podía escribirle una carta a
usted como editor para expresar mi punto de vista. Usted me ha dicho hoy mismo a mi y a Ruth
que podemos informarle de lo que consideraríamos la forma adecuada de una disculpa.
Señor Clarke, es su responsabilidad y solamente suya la responsabilidad de considerar la situación y de escribir lo que le parezca adecuado. Pero necesita saber lo siguiente: a no ser que usted, por algún milagro, tenga la habilidad para pronosticar los pensamientos y controlar el
comportamiento de todos las personas en este mundo que explotan a los niños vulnerables, y a no ser que por eso usted pueda garantizar que nunca le ocurriera nada malo a mi hija a
consecuencia de la peligrosa publicidad a la que ustedes la han expuesto, entonces nada de lo que ustedes pudieran escribir o hacer ahora podría jamás enmendar el daño que ustedes ya han
hecho.
Señor Clarke, usted tiene hijos Espero que ellos nunca estén expuestos a los miedos y angustias
que está experimentando mi hija
Señor Clarke, usted tiene que convivir con las consecuencias de sus acciones. A usted le debería
dar vergüenza eternamente el hecho de que nuestra hija Madeleine esté condenada a
convivir con ellas también.

V.- ALEGACIONES DE LA PARTE DEMANDADA
De la reclamación se dio traslado a don Jon Clarke, Administrador Único y editor Jefe de
“The Olive Press” y a la periodista Wendy Williams que firma el reportaje objeto de esta
queja, concediéndoles un plazo de veinte días naturales para que pudieran alegar lo que
a su derecho conviniere, sin que transcurrido ese plazo se haya recibido contestación
alguna.

. VI.- RAZONAMIENTO DE LA PONENCIA
PRIMERO.-
La Constitución Española reconoce y protege los derechos “a expresar y difundir
libremente los pensamientos, ideas y opiniones” así como a comunicar y recibir
libremente información a través de la palabra, por de pronto y también a través de
cualquier otro medio de difusión (art. 20 CE). Por su parte, el Convenio de Roma de
1950 incluye ambos derechos en su art. 10, aún cuando con una configuración
monista, o dicho llanamente, refundidos en uno. Se trata de dos derechos distintos por
su objeto, sus requisitos su extensión y, a veces sus titulares. No siempre resulta
sencillo identificar cada uno de ellos en casos concretos, pero en este no cabe la
menor duda de que se está en presencia del segundo, que versa sobre hechos
noticiables. Aun cuando no sea fácil separar en la vida real aquella libertad y este
derecho, pues la expresión de ideas o juicios de valor necesita a veces elementos
fácticos, en el reportaje publicado en “The Olive Press” predominan sus elementos
informativos y pretende ser “periodismo de investigación” aunque esta haya sido
somera y elemental
Es evidente que el ejercicio de este derecho no tiene otros límites que los fijados
explícitamente en la Constitución, como son los demás derechos y los derechos de
los demás, sin prevalencia apriorística de cualquiera de ellos y, por tanto, en un
equilibrio inestable, ya que ninguno puede tener carácter absoluto ni rango superior a
los colindantes (STC 34/1996). Un primer límite inmanente es su coexistencia con
otros derechos fundamentales, tal y como se configuran constitucionalmente y en las
leyes que los desarrollan, entre ellos – muy especialmente los que protegen la
intimidad, la propia imagen la juventud y la infancia, recogidos a su vez en los arts. 4º
y 5º del Código Deontológico de la Federación de Asociaciones de Periodistas de
España (FAPE) que los reclamantes, don L. A. y doña R. E. invocan en nombre de su
hija Madeleine, con el respaldo del párrafo 4 del art. 20 de nuestra Constitución.

SEGUNDO.-
El derecho fundamental a la intimidad protege “la existencia de un ámbito propio y
reservado frente a la acción y el conocimiento de los demás, necesario según las
pautas de nuestra cultura, para mantener una calidad mínima de la vida humana”
(STC 186/2000) e implica en consecuencia una “autonomía informativa”. Es como el
derecho a la propia “imagen” un derecho público subjetivo de la personalidad,
derivado de la dignidad humana y dirigido a proteger el patrimonio moral de las
personas, invistiendo a su titular con una potestad de autodeterminación respecto del
flujo de información sobre sí mismo, que se refleja en la necesidad de autorización y
en la posibilidad de que se niegue o prohíba De ello se deduce que la exposición al
público en la prensa por escrito o bien verbalmente en radio o televisión de datos,
acaecimientos o circunstancias de la vida personal de cualquiera, sin su
consentimiento, constituye una intromisión ilegítima en este derecho. La intimidad
“hace posible el desarrollo, el fortalecimiento y la recuperación de la identidad
personal” y por ello está en el origen de la diversidad, de la diferenciación,
convirtiéndose en la garantía institucional del pluralismo político propio de un sistema
democrático (art. 1º CE).
El derecho a la intimidad como “right of privacy” fue configurado en 1890 por dos
abogados norteamericanos Warren y Brandeis, el último de los cuales llegaría a
magistrado del Tribunal Supremo, dentro de ese gran cajón de sastre que son los
“derechos retenidos por el pueblo “fórmula abierta de la enumeración de derechos
civiles. El juez Cooley lo definió como el derecho a la soledad o a ser dejado en paz y
la Constitución Española lo reconoció por primera vez en nuestro ordenamiento
jurídico como derecho fundamental en su doble dimensión personal y familiar (art.
18.1 CE) asumiendo lo ya establecido en la Declaración Universal de los Derechos del
Hombre proclamada en 1948 por las Naciones Unidas y en la Convención Europea
firmada en Roma el año 1950 (art. 8º). A su vez la Ley Orgánica 1/1966 lo extiende al
menor, incluyendo en una de sus modalidades “la difusión de información o la
utilización de imágenes o nombres de los menores en medios de comunicación que
pueda implicar una intromisión ilegítima en su intimidad … o que sea contraria a sus
intereses”. Por su parte, el Código Deontológico de la Federación de Asociaciones de
Periodistas de España exige al periodista, en su art. 4º, que compatibilice su función
(derecho / deber) de informar con respeto a la intimidad, sean adultos o menores.

TERCERO.-
Una vez despejadas las dos incógnitas previas implicadas en cualquier conflicto, que
no son sino la identificación de los derechos fundamentales en juego, el paso
siguiente habrá de ser la ponderación de uno y otro en el marco de la Constitución,
que además de establecer una forma de gobierno es también un conjunto de valores.
Efectivamente, la libre expresión y la no menos libertad de informar se configuran en
principio como derechos fundamentales de los ciudadanos, aun cuando con talante
instrumental de una función que garantiza la existencia a una opinión publica también
libre, indispensable para la consecución de pluralismo político como valor fundamental
del sistema democrático. El análisis para sopesar los derechos en tensión ha de
practicarse atendiendo a las circunstancias concurrentes en cada caso, con una
panoplia de criterios convergentes, entre ellos el tipo de actividad ejercitada, el interés
general de la información y la condición pública o privada del afectado.

Pues bien, cuando se produce una colisión con cualesquiera de estos derechos
fundamentales, la premisa mayor del razonamiento tanto desde su perspectiva
deontológica como desde un punto de vista jurídico, coincidentes en gran parte pero
no totalmente, ya que la primera ofrece una mayor flexibilidad y en cierto modo, una
mayor exigencia, es el derecho a suministrar información, condicionada a su vez por
un requisito especifico, la veracidad. Sin embargo, en el supuesto del derecho a la
intimidad la “exceptio veritatis” paradójicamente invierte su papel y no exculpa la
intromisión ilegítima, sino que es su presupuesto necesario. No puede atentarse
contra tal derecho desvelando hechos inexistentes o falsos. Eso quizá pueda vulnerar
el derecho al honor, pero por su misma vacuidad no puede atacar el último reducto de
la reserva. Desvelar es levantar el velo, revelando actos y datos (usos y hábitos,
vivencias, cualidades y defectos, circunstancias y otros aspectos de la personalidad)
que sean reales y cuyo conocimiento desee restringir la persona. En síntesis
tratándose de la intimidad, la veracidad no es paliativa sino presupuesto en todo caso
de la lesión (SSTC 171/1991 y 20/1992).
La “veracidad” como cualidad legitimadora de la información no coincide con el
concepto de verdad o adecuación de lo que se dice con la realidad. La doctrina
constitucional muy elaborada tiene un talante posibilista y relativo, no absoluto, dado
el componente subjetivo de toda actividad humana, pero sin llegar a la verdad de cada
cual. Lo que significa tal adjetivo está mas cerca de la apariencia razonable de verdad
que de la verdad en si misma y, por ello, no significa que en el supuesto de error se
prive de toda protección al informador, sino que se le impone la carga previa de un
especifico deber de diligencia, exigiéndole que los hechos se contrasten con datos
objetivos y se comprueben, en suma, por otras fuentes o cauces. Así lo expresa el
apartado a) del art. 13 del Código Deontológico FAPE, donde se impone al periodista
“el deber de contrastar las fuentes y dar la oportunidad a la persona afectada de
ofrecer la propia versión de los hechos”. El derecho de todos a dar y a recibir una
información veraz, del cual son titulares los ciudadanos y los profesionales de los
medios, se vería defraudado si éstos actuasen eventualmente con menosprecio de la
realidad. “El ordenamiento – se ha dicho- no presta su tutela a quien comunica como
hechos simples rumores, o peor, a meras insinuaciones insidiosas”. (SSTC 6/1988 y
105/1990).

CUARTO.-
En el supuesto de que los sedicentes agraviados no fueren personalidades públicas o
personajes conocidos públicamente por la naturaleza de su oficio y, en consecuencia,
aun cuando parezca redundante, se tratara de ciudadanos particulares, como ocurre
en este caso que aquí y ahora nos ocupa, el criterio determinante para justificar una
eventual invasión de su intimidad es la relevancia pública del hecho divulgado, vale
decir que, siendo veraz, su comunicación a la gente – a la opinión pública – resulte
legitimada en función del interés general del asunto sobre el cual se informa.
Precisamente ese interés en este caso está ligado a la veracidad o, al menos, la
verosimilitud del hecho en cuestión, pues si hubiera una gran probabilidad de su
exactitud sería en efecto relevante y beneficioso pero si todo se queda en habladurías
de corrala el resultado es contraproducente y perjudicial.
“La relevancia comunitaria” y no la simple satisfacción de la curiosidad ajena, con
frecuencia mal orientada e indebidamente fomentada, es lo único que puede justificar
la exigencia de que los afectados asuman o soporten aquellas perturbaciones o
molestias ocasionadas por la decisión de una determinada noticia y reside en tal
criterio, por consiguiente el elemento final de valoración para dirimir en estos
supuestos, al conflicto entre la intimidad, por una parte y el derecho a dar y recibir
información de la otra. (STC 197/91 y 20/1992). En ningún supuesto puede exigirse a
nadie, que soporte pasivamente la difusión periodística de datos de su vida privada
que sean triviales o indiferentes para el interés público que no debe confundirse con el
interés del público o curiosidad ajena por las vidas de los demás. Este último carece
de valor para la formación de una opinión pública libre, en atención a la cual se le
reconoce su posición prevalente (SSTC 10/1997 y 127/2003).
QUINTO.-
En el presente caso la periodista, si es que tiene tal condición profesional, ha actuado
con notoria ligereza y ha montado un reportaje escandaloso con materiales muy
endebles. El apoyo principal de la información es el testimonio de una pareja, Joe
Arbuckle y su esposa Joseline, que, sin haber conocido personalmente a la niña
desaparecida, Madeleine Mc Cann, encuentra que otra de la misma edad tenía con
aquella nada menos que “un misterioso y extraño parecido” la cual se presentará a
continuación como “yo soy Madeleine”, nombre por cierto bastante común. La
coincidencia de otras circunstancias muy normales como son la edad, y la
nacionalidad inglesa en una región española donde desde antiguo abundan los
turistas de esa procedencia que incluso se convierten en residentes y un cierto
parecido, corriente en esa etapa de la vida en que los rasgos no están definidos del
todo ni del todo individualizados, no puede servir razonablemente para dar pábulo a la
imaginación en un caso tan proclive a la sugestión colectiva como el del probable
secuestro y asesinato de una niña inglesa en Portugal unos años antes.
Si las precipitadas y persistentes conclusiones del matrimonio Arbuckle, que al
parecer pusieron en conocimiento de la policía, pudieran ser disculpables y aun
dignas de elogio, no ocurre lo mismo con la conducta profesional de doña Wendy
Williams, la periodista que firma el reportaje con un titular equivoco:” Maddie? Yes …
but no the right one”, no la buscada pero añade “¿podía Olive Press haber resuelto la
conexión de la Axarquía con la desaparecida Madeleine MC Cann?, “insistiendo mas
abajo en que esta y la que reside en “casa Madeleine” por llamarse así, son la misma
persona. La sedicente periodista no tomó precaución alguna para corroborar sus
sospechas. No se puso en contacto con la policía municipal de la localidad ni con la
Comisaría competente del Cuerpo General o la Comandancia de la Guardia Civil, ni
tampoco –dada la nacionalidad a la niña desaparecida, de los denunciantes y de la
misma reportera - con el inspector que en el del Reino Unido lleva la investigación del
caso. Simplemente, con los únicos testimonios de la pareja Arbuckle confeccionó el
reportaje que gozosamente autocalifica como digno de Sherlock Holmes, encantada
de haberse conocido.

La información publicada en “The Olive Press” es un ejemplo de sensacionalismo
irresponsable para atraer la atención del eventual lector. Su contenido es
charlatanería en estado puro, “gossip” en el idioma en el cual se ha escrito y en el
lenguaje periodístico “amarillismo “, siempre reprochable pero mucho más cuando se
puede poner en peligro al sujeto pasivo de la información que irrumpe
inesperadamente en el ámbito de la intimidad de la menor, una niña de ocho años,
sacándola a la luz pública con perjuicio de su estabilidad emocional e incluso con
riesgo para su integridad personal. Dos de la fotografías publicadas muestran la
puerta de la entrada a su vivienda y el rótulo “casa Madeleine” con el numero 66 como
algo digno de toda sospecha cuando, hasta para el Dr. Watson, sería un indicio
vehemente de que no hay ocultación ni clandestinidad, solamente el homenaje de
unos padres a su hija. Las otras fotografías en cambio – el matrimonio perspicaz y su
establecimiento- mas parecen publicidad que otra cosa. El paso del tiempo
transcurrido desde el comienzo de esta situación surrealista sin que hayan actuado las
policías británica y española, ni tampoco los padres de la desaparecida, la
circunstancia de que la identidad y parentesco de la niña pudieran ser corroboradas
científicamente con sus huellas dactilares y con el ADN, son la prueba contundente de
que el reportaje en cuestión carecía de un fundamento sólido. Como tal es el ejemplo
del periodismo que no debe hacerse.

VII.- RESOLUCIÓN
Teniendo en consideración los anteriores razonamientos de la ponencia, esta
Comisión de Arbitraje, Quejas y Deontología del periodismo ACUERDA que don Jon
Clarke, editor de “The Olive Press” y doña Wendy Williams, autora del reportaje
“Maddie? Yes … but not the right one” han infringido los arts. 4º y 13 del Código
Deontológico FAPE por no haber respetado el derecho a la intimidad personal y
familiar de Madeleine A., menor de edad, y de sus padres, el señor L. A. y la señora
R. E., ni haber cuidado de contrastar las fuentes de la información, no dándoles
además la oportunidad de ofrecer su propia versión sobre los hechos.
Madrid, 6 de noviembre de 2013
NOTA: En la presente resolución, tras su publicación, se ha procedido a omitir los
nombres de los denunciantes, de su hija menor de edad y de la localidad en la que
habitan, a petición de los denunciantes, con el fin de salvaguardar el derecho a la
intimidad de la menor.

PeterMac's Free e-book: What really happened to Madeleine McCann?

Gonçalo Amaral's 'Maddie: Truth of the Lie

Richard D. Hall: 'When Madeleine Died?'

Richard D. Hall: 'When Madeleine Died?'
Please click on image to view all three Madeleine films

Prime Minister introduces Prime Suspect to Royalty

Prime Minister introduces Prime Suspect to Royalty

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