Madeleine McCann: Gerry McCann says ‘Madeleine and her safety is often treated with complete contempt’
MADELEINE McCANN: Kate and Gerry McCann want Lord Leveson proposals on media regulation be implemented in full.
They should not get their way. Press Freedom means what it says. No buts. Why should journalists be held to ethical and moral standards imposed by others? You only need a access to the internet and an opinion to be a journalist. You might not be a good one, but the public will be the judges.
Why should a human being not need a license to express a view? True, writers must be held to account for what they /we say. But freedom of expression cannot be ring-fenced. You cannot cause offence to no-one.
Does your story interest the public, or is it in the public interest? Submit your copy and the State’s experts will get back to you, in time. Did you pay for the information in an underhand way? Yes, paying for it was how the Thalidomide scandal was exposed. And the MPs expenses. And the match-fixing in world cricket. That’s all “chequebook journalism”, isn’t it. Tawdry stuff. Kiss ‘n’ tells. Not worthy.
As Camilla Cavendish noted in the Times on the work of Sir Harry Evans:
When I finished Sir Harry’s book I was left wondering if he could have broken the thalidomide story today. The contempt of court laws are certainly flouted more readily these days than in his time. But few media organisations have the resources to orchestrate lengthy, complex investigations. And Sir Harry would have to be extra brave to pay his whistleblower £8,000 to get files from Distillers, the company that ruined so many families’ lives. The Bribery Act 2010 makes it illegal to pay for information that could reveal corruption. Had it come into force two years earlier, it would have prevented The Daily Telegraph from paying for the information that exposed the MPs’ expenses scandal.
The journalists job is to print the truth the subject doesn’t want you to know.
Meanwhile, Gerry McCann says the press has “lost its entitlement to self regulation”.
What entitlement? The hard-won freedoms that people fought and died for are not entitlements. You are not entitled to your opinion. It is your opinion to voice as you see fit. You don’t need to be entitled. That’s what freedom is.
The all-knowing pure-of-deed-and-thought living high about Grubb Street should impose rulings on what the lowly journalists are obliged to report on and how? No scope should be given for different tastes and angles? Just one view will do for all on the day’s news events? Conformity is the byword in Gerry McCann’s world. Diverse opinion will not be permitted. Journalism will be an exercise in box-ticking. This is what he wants?
Says Gerry McCann:
“I think Leveson has been quite generous to the press and more than the behaviour of some sections of the media deserve really. They are getting a last chance at self-regulation which for me was actually a step too far…I feel that the press has lost its entitlement to self-regulation over many, many years and I would have liked to have seen statutory regulation, not self-regulation.”
The McCanns were libelled. They got satisfaction in court. Some sections of the press went too far. They were made to pay. Why are more laws needed?
The McCanns were on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. He’s the journalist who took out a super-injunction to prevent anyone reporting that he had an injunction banning reporting on his extra-marital love life. You want more of that? You want that to be made routine? Prove the public needs to know to the license givers and then you can report it. Is it tittle-tattle or important? Is it in the public interest because the public are interested in it? Don’t bother wondering about it, because the powerful are deciding for you.
Mr McCann, of Rothley, Leics, added:
“We still have episodes where things are published which we’d prefer not to be.”
Sure. There are people who aren’t all that keen on the McCanns, who choose to see in them a middle-class couple who got better treatment than a working-class couple or the unemployed and poor might have gotten for leaving their young children in a room in a foreign resort while they went drinking. Indeed, Mr McCann may even trigger opposing views when he says:
“Madeleine and her safety is often treated with complete contempt.”
You and the BBC can quote him on that.
Comments are closed. The UK libel laws are fierce. Too ruddy fierce. And we have shallow pockets.