Anorak News | Madeleine McCann: Keeping Secrecy Laws

Madeleine McCann: Keeping Secrecy Laws

by | 4th, September 2007

FROM Paulo Reis in Portugal:

Some advice to Penny Wark, correspondent of The Times in Portugal

I feel I have the experience, as a journalist (26 years), the age (50 years old) and the knowledge about Madeleine’s case to give some advice to the journalist that wrote a story on “The Times”, published today. This is the tittle and the link for the story:


From The Times


September 4, 2007

Madeleine: one fact, many lies, endless grief
It’s now 124 days since Madeleine McCann disappeared. Our correspondent charts a story that became global, lurid and often invented – and hears how the McCanns learnt to think positively after imagining the darkest scenarios and suffering uncontrollable grief

And this is my advice (quotations from “The Times” story are in bold, my advice is in regular characters):
As everyone is acutely aware, the reason we know so little about Madeleine’s disappearance is because she was abducted in Portugal, where the segredo de justiça law prevents the police from putting information about a criminal investigation in the public domain. Had Madeleine disappeared in Britain or the US, this would not have happened.

Right. But you know that these damned secrecy laws also exist in many other European countries, namely those countries on the other side of the British Channel, like Sweden, Netherlands, France, Spain, Greece. I would say the “segredo de justiça law”, as you wrote, exists in some 24 of the 25 countries of the European Union. Now, maybe you can help me with something that has puzzled me, since the begging of this case: in UK, there is no secrecy law, right? Journalists are informed any time British Police has a new suspect in a crime investigation, right?


Witnesses and victims of a crime can tell the journalists all details about what happened, right? So, how does British Police manages (sic) to keep crime investigations going on without, for example, the suspects running away, as soon as their names are printed at all newspapers?


One more question about this subject: why wasn’t this policy of openness applied in The Soham murders case? I watched it, every day, at Sky News (every 15 minutes…) and at BBC and never heard specific details about the ongoing investigation (…)


Posted: 4th, September 2007 | In: Reviews Comments (28) | TrackBack | Permalink