Madeleine McCann: Duarte Levy, Clarence Mitchell And The Daily Mirror
DUARTE Levy writes on the case of Madeleine McCann. He alleges that that Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns’ PR adviser, is “using the Government’s services to keep watch on journalists and forum participants.” Says Mr Levy:
Clarence Mitchell, the McCann’s PR adviser and spokesman, continues to make use of the British government’s services despite having officially resigned from his position as director of the Media Monitoring Unit*. The accusation comes from a Home Office source who has stated that the outgoing director had called upon his former service to keep a watch not only on several journalists but also on the behaviour of participants in a list of forums and blogs considered to be “highly detrimental to the image of the McCanns and that of the British government”.
Can what Mr Levy alleges be true? And if it is, why would it be a big deal for the McCanns’ spokesman to keep an eye on the web, and get what help he can? Mr Levy continues:
Clarence Mitchell, a former journalist for the Daily Express and the BBC, was seconded by the Foreign Office to act as a liaison officer between the media and Madeleine’s parents. Through the intermediary of the respective British embassies, it was he who organised the McCann’s visits to the Vatican, Madrid, Berlin, Amsterdam and Rabat.
Since the very early days, media monitoring has been an important part of Clarence Mitchell’s work. While the McCann’s were in Praia da Luz, it was he who decided to separate journalists according to nationality: the British first, and the Portuguese last.
Today, the McCann’s PR campaign relies more than ever on monitoring public opinion: over the past few days several UK forums and blogs have been shut down due to “anti-McCann” comments. Amongst them is the Mirror newspaper’s forum, which erased all comments about the case without warning when the participants started to debate Home Office interference.
No response from Mr Mitchell is quoted in Mr Levy’s email to us. But why did the Daily Mirror close its forum? Anyone from those forums care to tell us what they know?
Anorak’s monitoring team try to read all reader comments – of which there are thousands.