Anorak News | Moderating The Madeleine McCann Story On The Web

Moderating The Madeleine McCann Story On The Web

by | 2nd, August 2008

HOW does an organisation report and moderate the Madeleine McCann story? Many get sued for stuffing it up. How does it moderate any story on the web?
Writes AGW:

This. Yes this medium, can be highly dangerous. Every day we are bombarded by porn, medical, cigarette and penis extension offers.

We suffer from them individually via our e-mails and this site and Forum have the same threats and risks which the Editor, technical whizzes and Moderators do their level best to protect you from.

Over the past year another threat has developed and is growing. To my cynical mind it may even be a threat nurtured by the glistering, tempting and shimmering, mirage of big out-of-court settlements and agreements.

It’s the McCann thing again. The biggest potential danger area now appears to be coming from subscribers and contributors themselves.

We have long been aware of an orchestrated campaign from both pro and antis camps in the McCann case. I must repeat we find such descriptions absolute nonsense. How can anyone be pro or anti a missing beautiful little girl child?

As the story has developed it has become a a pro and anti parents or police positional issue and a clash of cultures (which it may have been from the beginning).

It is more prominent in the Comment/Opinion side of the Anorak site and posters with well-entrenched positions are attempting to slip one in. Get the latest publication and rumour from the Portuguese press into the public domain via Anorak.

Anorak is a UK-based site which comments on those commentating and reporting the news. It is extremely well-read and even respected in the media world and readership alike. The Moderators attempt to keep it a safe place to be.

Once again the McCann story has become not the story of the missing child but the way it can be reported. British media have a governance system, enforced in law, that of libel and tort. The basic principal is simple if you can not prove it do not write it. The law is different in other European countries but the British media have always had the opportunity to cover crime stories freely, until charges have been made. Then during court cases all is revealed and reportable. There are other privileged areas where the laws of libel do not apply. Parliament has absolute privilege and if it said there it can be reported. Public meetings such as Council Chambers also have a limited privilege.

Alleged leaked foreign police reports and journals do not have the protections necessary for the UK media nor do internet sites. There have been some truly disgraceful comments in other sites and there is talk of action.
To give you an idea of how Anorak deals with it all,
I repeat an exchange from the Opinion side of this site which took place through the night

The contributor(s?) Gandolf had attempted to publish a report from a Portuguese media outlet which speculated on alleged difference between a book and supposedly leaked police reports.
Despite the fact the risks were self-evident there was a suspicious insistence to refer to the articles.
On many separate occasions he/she/they challenged the Moderators and eventually me after I had given a ruling. He then attempted to publish this.
Fair enough. If you wish to take on me then the gloves are off and my view is below.
The Moderators remain the Guardians of the site and their decisions are final. Only a cretin would challenge them, the editor or me. We are passionate about free speech. That viewpoint neither gives you the right to abuse it nor will we allow you the opportunity to demonstrate your discourtesy by insult or abuse to us. The others here do not deserve it and I don’t give a a gnat’s life expectancy in an insect killer for your opinion of me.

latest (and now released) was:
Garbage or not agw, it is as requested from a legitimate news source, if we are only to post officially verified statements that is a different matter and somewhat narrows the target area. The obvious question is …..was the report leaked or was it made available to certain parties, you may have noticed that the Portuguese authorities have made no comment on the alleged leak, call me cynical, but I am willing to bet a Ruby to a grain of sand that no one will be looked for or charged over this media claimed leak.

Unless and until the reports are officially released you are relying on conjecture and that is not acceptable given the nature of the material.

Administrator: Two things. Anorak may very well be looked at and charged because of your recklessness and stupidity…because that’s what your attitude is. A news source not bound by the constraints of British laws can do as it pleases. You, and we, may not.
Secondly: I keep repeating I have no opinion in this case. That is not exactly true. If we are to presume an innocence for the parents of the missing child then at least get off your moral high horse and give the policeman Amaral the same presumption. Whatever the charges he now faces and their outcome, he has the same right to be presumed innocent, until proved otherwise…and he was the investigating officer-in-charge of a case which still has no answers and no recovered child.
The child remains missing and I regret to point out only a grieving parent or a crystal ball gazer can truly believe the child is still alive. No policeman in the world would tell you otherwise. Private investigation companies are a different matter and will possibly give a different opinion. Well they would wouldn’t they?
I would suggest you stop idle and nonsensical speculation and concentrate on the failures evident in this case. Those failures have nothing to do with guilt or innocence but I will say this: the first and primary cause of this was the parents’ urge to spend time with adult friends and not in the guardianship role of mother or father. The original opportunity to commit a crime (if there was one) a fault and/or sin was not created by the obvious original police errors and or failures. As always, the investigating teams come in to try and sort out the truths. They have no reason or justification to do any other.

Ask yourself this: If there is ANY guilt here, where does it lie? Police, alleged abductor(s), fiends or friends, media, the Pope, the British government and its consular service or parents?
There can be no crime without motive and opportunity.

We have no answers for you. No facts. I have strong beliefs but will keep my opinions to myself…other than one I expressed months ago. Whatever else we are looking at, it is a family utterly destroyed and in shards. It will never recover from this. The tragedy will never go away. The fingers will never stop pointing and I can not imagine the horrors and chance accusative confrontations which still lie ahead for Kate Healy and Gerald McCann. Together or apart.-agw

The media and the law are incestuous creatures. They play and breed together. They feed each other. Both sometimes take themselves far too seriously and lose sight of the true story. We should not.

Posted: 2nd, August 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann Comments (75) | TrackBack | Permalink