The purpose of
this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog
Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs
from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to
anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many
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you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use
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Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn are joined by Sir Christopher
Meyer and Roy Greenslade to discuss press regulation. [Note: Sir Christopher Meyer was the then outgoing chairman of the Press
Thursday 02 April 2009 Transcript by Nigel Moore
- Extract -
Neil: Why couldn't you stop... why... why couldn't the PCC stop some British newspapers from implying,
almost claiming, that the McCann's had killed their missing daughter, when there wasn't an iota of evidence to show
that was true and, frankly, I can't think of anything worse for parents who have lost their daughter to be accused in
the tabloids of having killed her. Where was the PCC on that? Sir Christopher Meyer:
The PCC was there all the time. 48 hours after Madeleine disappeared, we said to the parents - through the British Embassy
in Washington - that we were here to help; This is what we can do to help you, if you so wish. We cannot be more Catholic
than the Pope, more Royalist than the King. AN: But you didn't
stop it. SCM: We didn't stop it because they did not want
us to stop it because at that time, and don't forget this, Andrew, they were very busy - and I would have done the same
thing, if I'd been in their position - stimulating publicity to try and find their daughter. I personally met Gerry McCann
in the summer to explain to him face to face, eyeball to eyeball, 'Gerry, this is what I can do to help, if you so wish'. AN: Alright. My memory may be fading here but I know they wanted a lot
of publicity, for obvious reasons. I don't think they wanted the kind of publicity that accused them of killing their
daughter. Roy Greenslade: No, they surely didn't. I mean, I think
the problem was in -and you illustrate it perfectly here - is in the nature of this discretion and done behind closed doors,
and so on. Really, in a sense, there should have been a public statement from the PCC... SCM: But we couldn't... RG: When... when... SCM: No, Roy, we couldn't make a public statement, while... RG: ...saying that much of this was obviously speculation. Journalists, by the way,
there are... there are eight... SCM: You miss out... you miss out
one absolutely key fact here; it was the Portuguese authorities themselves... RG:
I know, I agree with you... SCM: ...who made them arguidos and that
created a massive complication. RG: There are eight editors
on the commission. All of those editors knew that what was being published in the papers was based on speculation. You could
have made a statement, saying: 'Be warned newspapers, if you go into this area you are doing the wrong thing and you are
actually...' AN: Okay, we're going to have to leave it there... SCM: You cannot trump the wishes of the parents. AN: No, Christopher, we're going to have to leave it there. You've made that
point. SCM: Yes. Have I? I want to make it again.
Phone hacking and Leveson inquiry - live, 06 September 2011
Full coverage as the culture select committee questions four former News of the World executives including Colin
Myler and Tom Crone, plus the Leveson inquiry's first hearing
11.43am: Meanwhile over at the Leveson inquiry, my colleague Josh Halliday reports public
figures including Madeleine McCann's parents are queuing up to give evidence.
JoshHalliday Josh Halliday by dansabbagh McCanns, Chris Jefferies, Mosley and phone hacking victims applying
to give evidence to #Leveson inquiry
1.12pm: Josh Halliday has an update from the
Key victims of press intrusion, including the parents of Madeleine McCann and former Formula One
boss Max Mosley, are likely to be the first people to testify before Lord Justice Leveson's public inquiry into the media.
Lawyers acting for "potentially over 100" alleged victims of phone hacking said they too would like to give
evidence to the inquiry.
The former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks has also offered to appear
in person before Lord Leveson. In addition, lawyers acting for News International said that "some or many" editors
or executives may be willing to submit evidence to the inquiry.
Lord Leveson said he would make a decision on who
will be called as core participants in the next few days.
Public figures who applied to give evidence before the
- Rebekah Brooks - John Yates, the former Met police assistant commissioner - Potentially
more than 100 alleged victims of phone hacking, including Sienna Miller, Steve Coogan and George Galloway - Victims of
press intrusion, such as former F1 boss Max Mosley, the parent of Madeleine McCann, and Christopher Jefferies, the former
landlord of Joanna Yates - The Metropolitan police - News International - Express Newspapers - Guardian
News & Media - Associated Newspapers likely to apply in next few days - Index On Censorship - English PEN
- writers' association
Madeleine McCann's parents seek phone hacking probe role BBC News
6 September 2011 Last updated at 14:00
The parents of missing Madeleine McCann want to participate in the judicial inquiry into the phone hacking scandal,
a High Court hearing has been told.
Alleged victims who want to be "core participants"
include the couple and ex-Formula 1 boss Max Mosley.
Inquiry head Lord Justice Leveson said core participant status
would enable people to be legally represented, make statements and cross-examine witnesses.
They are among a list
of organisations and names set to feature in the probe.
The list published by inquiry officials includes former
News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, former senior Metropolitan Police officer John Yates, the Guardian newspaper,
News International, Express Newspapers and the Metropolitan Police. 'Notorious' cases
The High Court hearing was held to consider applications for core participant status.
Barrister David Sherborne
told the hearing that he represented a number of alleged victims who wanted to be core participants, including Kate and Gerry
McCann, whose daughter went missing aged three on holiday in Portugal in 2007, Mr Mosley and Chris Jefferies, the former landlord
of alleged murder victim Jo Yeates.
Mr Sherborne said those seeking to take part in the inquiry had been involved
in "notorious" cases.
He said he also represented another group of more than 100 people whose voicemail
messages had allegedly been intercepted.
The barrister said many of those people had already launched legal action
against News of the World publisher News Group Newspapers, which is part of News International.
Mr Sherborne told
the High Court hearing that the second group included people who did not want to be core participants but also wanted to contribute
to the inquiry.
The barrister said this group included actors Sienna Miller, Jude Law, Hugh Grant and Abi Titmus,
television presenter Ulrika Jonsson and football agent Sky Andrew.
MPs Chris Bryant, Tessa Jowell and Denis MacShane,
former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott, former police chief Brian Paddick and Chris Shipman, the son of killer GP Harold
Shipman, were also part of that group.
Lord Justice Leveson said the inquiry would examine the relationship between
the press and the public, the press and the police and the press and politicians.
Outlining the planned format
for the inquiry, he said he would initially look into the "culture, practice and ethics" of the press and then.
The judge said the second stage of the inquiry would consider the extent of any improper conduct.
he would hold a series of preliminary hearings before a main hearing.
Lord Justice Leveson said he wanted evidence
from experts and members of the public.
The judge said he expected the inquiry to last for several months and aimed
to produce a report within a year.
Later revised version:
McCann's parents seek phone hacking probe role BBC News
6 September 2011 Last updated at 17:00
The parents of missing Madeleine McCann want
to participate in the judicial inquiry into the phone hacking scandal, a preliminary hearing has been told.
They are among alleged victims who want to be "core participants" in the first part of the Leveson Inquiry.
Core participant status means a person is deemed to be specially interested in the subject and may apply for public
funding for legal representation.
The inquiry's first stage will examine relations between the press and public.
The investigation is one of a number of inquiries looking at the way the media operates in the UK.
Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee is conducting an inquiry into press standards.
Minister David Cameron has asked Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell to conduct a review of the media's relationship
The prime minister has also asked former Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Elizabeth Filkin
to oversee a review of the media's relationship with the Metropolitan Police.
Tuesday's preliminary hearing
was held to consider applications for core participant status. 'Notorious' cases
Lord Justice Leveson will decide who will get core participant status in the next few days and notify applicants in writing.
Barrister David Sherborne told the hearing that he represented a number of alleged victims of general media malpractice
who wanted to be core participants, including Kate and Gerry McCann, whose daughter went missing aged three on holiday in
Portugal in 2007, Mr Mosley and Chris Jefferies, the former landlord of alleged murder victim Jo Yeates.
said those seeking to take part in the inquiry had been involved in "notorious" cases.
of phone hacking who have applied for core participant status include politicians Chris Bryant, Tessa Jowell, Denis McShane,
Lord Prescott and former police officer Brian Paddick.
News International, Guardian News and Media Group, Express
Newspapers and the Metropolitan Police are among other applicants who are not in the category of alleged victims.
Associated Newspapers - publishers of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday - are also expected to apply in writing in the next
few days. Improper conduct probe
Lord Justice Leveson said the inquiry would examine
the relationship between the press and the public, the press and the police and the press and politicians.
the planned format for the probe, he said he would initially look into the "culture, practice and ethics" of the
The judge said the second stage of the inquiry would consider the extent of any improper conduct.
He said he would hold a series of preliminary hearings before a main hearing.
Lord Justice Leveson said he wanted
evidence from experts and members of the public.
The judge said he expected the inquiry to last for several months
and aimed to produce a report within a year.
'Core participants' receive
public funds to take part in phone hack probe, 06 September 2011
'Core participants' receive public funds to
take part in phone hack probe Evening Standard
Tom Harper 6 Sep 2011
100 celebrities, TV stars and politicians will be able to apply for public funding to help them take part in the official
Lord Leveson today disclosed that all those seeking to be "core participants"
in his judicial probe could apply for their costs to be met by the state.
A source close to the inquiry admitted
they were mindful of the disastrous cost of the Saville investigation into Bloody Sunday, which went on for more than a decade
and cost hundreds of millions of pounds.
At the Royal Courts of Justice today, 14 people applied to be core participants
including Labour politicians Chris Bryant, Tessa Jowell, Denis MacShane, John Prescott, former senior Met detective Brian
Paddick, Kate and Gerry McCann and, Max Mosley.
Core participants will be allowed to have legal representation
throughout the year-long inquiry which will enable them to cross-examine witnesses.
More than 100 other people,
either victims of phone-hacking or people who feel they have been targets of "media misreporting", will decide within
the next two days whether to apply, including actors Hugh Grant and Sienna Miller and celebrities Abi Titmuss and Ulrika Jonsson.
It is understood Lord Leveson will decide himself whether each applicant qualifies for state-funded support.
Potential applicants range from the wealthy, such as Jude Law, down to those with little money, such as Paul Gascoigne who
attended a bankruptcy hearing earlier this year.
McCanns seek role in hacking investigation,
06 September 2011
A judge is deciding what part the parents of missing child Madeleine McCann, Labour politician Lord Prescott and other people
who have featured in high-profile cases should play in a judicial inquiry into media ethics and phone hacking.
Justice Leveson - who will head the inquiry, due to start in London later this year - heard applications today from people
and organisations who want to take part, including Kate and Gerry McCann, former Formula 1 boss Max Mosley, Chris Jefferies,
the former landlord of alleged murder victim Jo Yeates, former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott, former News International
chief executive Rebekah Brooks, plus various newspaper groups.
Lawyers representing actress Sienna Miller, actors
Jude Law and Hugh Grant, ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne and comedian Steve Coogan also addressed the judge at a preliminary
hearing in London.
The judge said he would make decisions on who would be "core participants" in the
He must also decide how much of the inquiry legal bill will be footed by the taxpayer - and said he
would listen to funding applications from participants at a later date.
Prime Minister David Cameron announced
the inquiry in July, following revelations about phone hacking by the News of the World newspaper.
Leveson outlined today the format planned for the inquiry, saying he would look into the "culture, practice and ethics"
of the press and then, in a second stage, into the extent of any improper conduct.
The judge said he would hold
a series of preliminary, fact-finding meetings before the main hearing began.
He said the inquiry would examine
the relationship between the press and the public, the press and the police, and the press and politicians.
judge said he wanted evidence from experts and members of the public.
He said he expected the inquiry to last for
several months and aimed to produce a report within a year.
Inquiry officials said "core participants"
would have the right to be legally represented but not necessarily the right to cross-examine witnesses.
Leveson said he was wary of the need to avoid any interference with police inquiries into phone hacking.
won't be looking at who did what to whom," the judge told lawyers. "I am not conducting a trial and this will
not run along the lines of a trial."
The judge heard that police investigating alleged criminal offences in
the wake of complaints about phone hacking had made a number of arrests.
He was also told that a number of celebrities
had launched civil damages actions in the High Court against News International. A High Court judge is due to be updated on
the progress of claims at a hearing in London in October.
Practical planning for a public inquiry:
Core participants, 07 September 2011
A number of terms are used for an inchoate group of those who have a special interest in the processes and
outcome of a public inquiry. Historically the most common phrase used has been "interested parties", but some public
inquiries have used the term "full participants". The phrase used in section 5 of the Inquiries Act 2005 and which
is taken to have the same meaning is "core participants". Given the variety of interests that may be covered by
the term, and the variable nature of its effect, the precise terminology may not matter. For the sake of consistency, this
part will refer to the group as core participants.
Very broadly, those who are likely to be accorded core participant
status fall into two categories. The first is those persons who have an interest in seeing that the public inquiry acts thoroughly
and perhaps an interest in persuading it to reach a particular view. This category is reflected in sub-sections 5(1) and 5(2)
of the Inquiries Act 2005, which require the Chairman to consider when designating someone a core participant, whether a person
played or may have played a significant role in relation to the matters to which the public inquiry relates or has a significant
interest in an important aspect of the matters to which the public inquiry relates. Those who call for a public inquiry to
be established, e.g. NGOs and trade unions, regularly fall into this category.
The second category is those who
may be prejudicially affected by the public inquiry. This is captured by sub-section 5(1) (c) of the Inquiries Act 2005, which
requires the Chairman of a public inquiry to consider whether someone may be subject to explicit or significant criticism
during the proceedings or in the report or any interim report. Those who are being expressly investigated under the terms
of reference, witnesses likely to be incidentally criticised in the report and those witnesses whose evidence directly is
in serious conflict with others may all fall into this category.
The treatment of core participants is a matter
for the Panel of each public inquiry. The phrase naturally denotes special treatment and under the Inquiry Rules, the regulations
made under the Inquiries Act 2005, they may be granted rights to cross examine and to make opening and closing submissions.
They may be given an advance copy of the report for comment. The public inquiry may give fuller advance disclosure of its
materials to core participants than it does to witnesses. Public funding may be afforded to core participants for legal representation.
When a person is a witness to a public inquiry it may not add anything to give him core participant status. That is
because a witness must naturally be treated fairly, and fairness may require him to be legally represented at public expenses,
to be given advance notice of all materials in the hands of a public inquiry which may affect him and be permitted to cross-examine
and make submissions. To repeat Lord Scott's dictum from Three Rivers (No. 6) :"the defence of personal reputation
and integrity is at least as important to many individuals and companies as the pursuit or defence of legal rights whether
under private law or public law.". It may be convenient for a public inquiry to have a system for grading witnesses according
to whether they may need to defend their personal reputation and integrity and, if so, what facilities should be afforded
them for that defence.
Liverpool-born Kate McCann and husband Gerry apply to be a part of the phone hacking
Inquiry, 07 September 2011
Liverpool-born Kate McCann and husband Gerry apply to be a part of the phone hacking Inquiry Liverpool Echo
by Gemma Jaleel, Liverpool Echo Sep 7 2011
A JUDGE will
decide what role the parents of Madeleine McCann will have in the phone hacking inquiry.
Liverpool-born Kate and
husband Gerry have applied to be a part of the judicial inquiry into media ethics and phone hacking.
Leveson, who will head the inquiry due to start in London later this year, heard applications yesterday from people and organisations
who want to take part.
The McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell confirmed the couple would be prepared to
give evidence on their experiences.
It is understood that there is currently no evidence to suggest their phones
Mr Mitchell said: "Kate and Gerry themselves have gone forward to be considered for core participant
status within the Leveson inquiry, with a view to them giving evidence regarding their treatment at the hands of certain sections
of the press over the past four years.
"They will not be saying anything further, ahead of giving any evidence."
Madeleine was nearly four when she went missing from her family's holiday flat in Praia da Luz in the Algarve
on May 3 2007 as her parents dined with friends nearby.
Former Formula 1 boss Max Mosley, Chris Jefferies, the
former landlord of alleged murder victim Jo Yeates former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott also made applications yesterday.
Lawyers representing actress Sienna Miller, actors Jude Law and Hugh Grant, ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne and comedian
Steve Coogan also addressed the judge at the hearing in London.
Prime Minister David Cameron announced the inquiry
in July, following revelations about phone hacking by the News of the World newspaper.
Lord Justice Leveson outlined
the format planned for the inquiry, which will examine the relationship between the press, the public and police.
McCanns hoping to speak at phone-hacking investigation, 07 September 2011
Kate and Gerry McCann want to highlight
their experiences at the hands of the British press during the judicial investigation into the phone-hacking scandal.
The couple, whose daughter, Madeleine went missing in May 2007, were among those named yesterday as potential witnesses
in an investigation provoked by anger at journalists' illegal interception of phone messages.
Kate and Gerry McCann
But the couple's spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said there was no evidence their phones had been hacked.
He said the couple, who live in Rothley, hope to be granted "core participant status" in the inquiry, expected
to deliver its report in a year.
This would give them the right to be represented by a legal team, who could cross-examine
witnesses and make opening and closing statements.
Mr Mitchell said the remit of the inquiry was far wider than
"It is going to be looking at press ethics and media activity in general and they are deemed
to be relevant witnesses on that basis," he said.
"Assuming they get that status, the plan will be that
they will give evidence about their treatment at the hands of the press more generally."
appearing at the High Court, in London, yesterday published a list of names and organisations who will appear as witnesses.
They included former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, former senior Metropolitan Police officer
John Yates, News International, the Guardian newspaper, Express Newspapers and the Metropolitan Police.
have spoken and written about press intrusion and misrepresentation of their campaign to find Madeleine, who disappeared from
her family's holiday flat in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz, in the Algarve, on May 3, 2007, as her parents dined
out nearby with friends.
In March 2008, they accepted a payment and front page apologies from Express Newspapers.
It related to what they said were 100 "grotesque and grossly defamatory allegations" in the Daily Express,
Daily Star, Sunday Express and the Daily Star Sunday.
Mr Mitchell has previously told the Leicester Mercury it
is possible he was a victim of illegal attempts to access his mobile phone messages at the height of the case.
said, in July this year: "We were not naive.
"At that time, we knew it was a possibility that this was
going on so we were always careful about what we said in messages."
Other people whose names were put forward
for core participant status yesterday were former Formula 1 boss Max Mosley and Chris Jefferies, the former landlord of alleged
murder victim Jo Yeates.
Barrister David Sherborne said he also represented another group of more than 100 "victims''
whose voicemail had allegedly been intercepted.
He said many of those had already launched legal action against
News of the World publisher News Group Newspapers, which is part of News International.
British newspapers under scrutiny as Leveson Inquiry begins, 14 November 2011
British newspapers under scrutiny as Leveson Inquiry begins The Telegraph
The conduct, role and regulation of British newspapers today comes under scrutiny from a public inquiry, known
as the Leveson Inquiry.
Lord Justice Leveson
By James Kirkup, Deputy Political Editor 9:48AM GMT 14 Nov 2011
Lord Leveson, a senior judge, is beginning his investigation of the Press at the High Court in London.
The probe was triggered by phone-hacking, but is now looking at the entire newspaper industry.
believe the inquiry, expected to last more than a year, could impose statutory regulation on newspapers for the first time
in British history.
The first stage of the inquiry is discussing the industry in general because it must avoid
interfering with the various criminal cases arising from the News of the World's illegal news-gathering activities.
Critics of the process say it is an over-reaction and accuse politicians of using the inquiry to take revenge on papers
for exposing their wrongdoing.
It was set up by Prime Minister David Cameron in July after revelations that a private
detective working for the News of the World hacked the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
The opening session
today will see Robert Jay QC, counsel for the inquiry, set out the origins and ambitions of the inquiry.
e will describe how the inquiry came to be set up by Prime Minister David Cameron in July after revelations that a private
detective working for the News of the World hacked the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
The eminent barrister
is also expected to outline the terms of reference and discuss how the inquiry will avoid prejudicing the ongoing police investigation
into the scandal and any future trials.
Mr Jay's statement will be followed by submissions from lawyers for
the ''core participants'' of the inquiry, who are legally represented and can ask to cross-examine witnesses.
There are more than 50 core participants, including newspaper groups and people who have complained about press intrusion,
among them Milly's family, the parents of missing Madeleine McCann, Hugh Grant and Harry Potter creator JK Rowling.
The first witnesses are not expected to be called until next week.
The hearings will be held in Court 73
of the Royal Courts of Justice in central London, with a separate annexe where the proceedings can be followed via videolink.
The Leveson Inquiry has already held a series of preliminary seminars featuring high-profile speakers including
Associated Newspapers editor-in-chief Paul Dacre, who accused Mr Cameron of a ''cynical act of political expediency''
by declaring regulator the Press Complaints Commission a failed body.
The second part of the inquiry, examining
the extent of unlawful activities by journalists, will not begin until detectives have completed their work and any prosecutions
Lord Justice Leveson, a Court of Appeal judge, made private visits to the Daily Mail, the Daily
Mirror and the Daily Echo in Southampton last week to learn more about how newspapers operate.
He has been criticised
for not appointing any representatives from the tabloid or mid-market press to the panel of six experts who are helping him.
His advisors are former Financial Times chairman Sir David Bell, Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti, former Ofcom
chairman Lord Currie, former Channel 4 News political editor Elinor Goodman, former Daily Telegraph political editor George
Jones and former West Midlands police chief constable Sir Paul Scott-Lee.
Leveson Inquiry: Kate McCann felt 'mentally raped' when diary published,
16 November 2011
Leveson Inquiry: Kate McCann felt 'mentally raped' when diary published The Telegraph
Kate McCann, the mother of missing toddler Madeleine, felt "mentally raped" when her private diary was
published in a tabloid newspaper, the Leveson inquiry has heard.
By By Sarah Rainey 7:07PM GMT 16 Nov 2011
McCann's thoughts and feelings about her daughter's disappearance were printed in extracts from her personal journal,
which appeared in the News of the World in 2008.
David Sherborne, the lawyer acting for 51 victims of press intrusion,
told Lord Justice Leveson that the publication of the diary was a "blatant intrusion" into the McCann family's
They "begged for restraint" but little was shown, Mr Sherborne said.
of the World later apologised for printing the diary, which was leaked by a reporter after being in the possession of the
The revelations came on the third day of the Leveson inquiry as the court heard:
The mother of Hugh Grant's baby allegedly received abusive phone calls because the actor criticised the press.
• The News of the World tried to convince private investigator Derek Webb to "become"
a journalist by joining the National Union of Journalists.
• Former Formula One boss Max
Mosley believes the News of the World's coverage of his private life contributed to his son Alexander's suicide.
• The mother of Charlotte Church tried to commit suicide after press allegations about her husband's
• Not all 28 'corner names' listed in the notebook of private investigator
Glenn Mulcaire were News of the World staff, contrary to what inquiry counsel Robert Jay previously claimed.
Mr Sherborne compared self-regulation of the press to "handing the police station over to the mafia".
• He said the tabloid press were part of the "see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil
brigade" in covering up phone hacking.
• Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian newspaper,
said 99 per cent of journalists do not know how to hack and most do not come to work to "snoop".
Michelle Stanisbrook, general secretary of the NUJ, accused the Press Complaints Commission of being a "self-serving
gentleman's club which has failed abysmally".
Mr Sherborne, whose clients include celebrities Hugh Grant
and JK Rowling, said Gerry McCann will address the inquiry next week to explain how the Press Complaints Commission was "hopelessly
inadequate" in helping his family fend off media intrusion.
He said the pursuit of Madeleine McCann's
parents by tabloid newspapers represented "some of the darkest days for this section of the press".
Sherborne also said Christopher Jefferies, the landlord of murdered architect Joanna Yates, said he felt "raped"
by the media vilification of his character leading up to his arrest.
"It was a devastating destruction of
all aspects of Mr Jefferies' life, from his professional to the deeply personal," he said.
clumsy thieves drunk on the intoxicating frenzy of a good story, the press broke into his life."
inquiry into press standards was launched by Prime Minister David Cameron in July at the height of the phone hacking scandal
at the News of the World.
Part one is expected to last three months.
The hearing will resume on Monday,
when Lord Justice Leveson will hear from 21 witnesses, including singer Charlotte Church and comedian Steve Coogan.
'Mentally raped' by News of the World The Daily Telegraph
Thursday November 17, 2011
McCanns arrive at Leveson Inquiry, 23 November 2011
Gerry and Kate McCann arrive to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry
(UKPA) - 11:00am
Kate and Gerry McCann have arrived to
give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into press standards about their experiences of the media after their daughter Madeleine
The couple are expected to describe their anger at newspaper stories suggesting they may have been
involved in the little girl's disappearance from the family's holiday flat in Portugal in May 2007.
McCanns, from Rothley, Leicestershire, have previously spoken of their frustration that negative reporting like this was distracting
from the search for Madeleine.
The inquiry, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London, will also
hear evidence from Sheryl Gascoigne, the ex-wife of former England footballer Paul Gascoigne, lawyer Mark Lewis, who represents
phone hacking victims, and journalist Tom Rowland.
Comedian Steve Coogan on Tuesday claimed he was the victim of
two "sting" operations by the News of the World. He told the inquiry that the paper's former editor, Andy Coulson,
secretly listened in on a phone call designed to entice him into revealing personal information.
Mr Coulson, who
became Prime Minister David Cameron's communications director, was also accused of using a surreptitious recording of
another call to Coogan to betray a promise to omit "lurid" details about the break-up of one of the star's relationships.
Coogan told the inquiry that tabloid newspapers were "like the mafia" and said other celebrities feared
being victimised by the media if they gave evidence to Lord Leveson's hearings.
The inquiry will hear on Thursday
from actress Sienna Miller, Harry Potter author JK Rowling and former F1 boss Max Mosley.
The first part of the
Leveson Inquiry is looking at the culture, practices and ethics of the press in general.
The second part, examining
the extent of unlawful activities by journalists, will not begin until detectives have completed their investigation into
alleged phone hacking and corrupt payments to police and any prosecutions have been concluded.
Madeleine McCann's parents and Sheryl Gascoigne, ex-wife of former England footballer Paul Gascoigne, give evidence
Kate and Gerry McCann arrive to give evidence at Leveson Inquiry about negative press
after Madeleine vanished Daily Mail
Lawyer Mark Lewis describes Eureka moment on phone hacking
Claims football boss Gordon Taylor was
falsely accused of having affair
Only source could have been illegally accessed voicemail ...
actually a thank you message for funeral speech
Paul Gascoigne's ex-wife Sheryl also to give evidence later
By Daily Mail Reporter Last updated at 12:17 PM on 23rd November 2011
Kate and Gerry McCann have arrived to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into press standards about their
experiences of the media after their daughter Madeleine went missing.
The couple are expected to describe their
anger at newspaper stories suggesting they may have been involved in the little girl's disappearance from the family's
holiday flat in Portugal in May 2007.
The McCanns, from Rothley, Leicestershire, have previously spoken of their
frustration that negative reporting like this was distracting from the search for Madeleine.
The inquiry, sitting
at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London, will also hear evidence today from Sheryl Gascoigne, the ex-wife of former
England footballer Paul Gascoigne, lawyer Mark Lewis, who represents phone hacking victims, and journalist Tom Rowland.
Comedian Steve Coogan yesterday claimed he was the victim of two 'sting' operations by the News of the World.
He told the inquiry that the paper's former editor, Andy Coulson, secretly listened in on a phone call designed
to entice him into revealing personal information.
Mr Coulson, who became Prime Minister David Cameron's communications
director, was also accused of using a surreptitious recording of another call to Coogan to betray a promise to omit 'lurid'
details about the break-up of one of the star's relationships.
Coogan told the inquiry that tabloid newspapers
were 'like the mafia' and said other celebrities feared being victimised by the media if they gave evidence to Lord
- article continues -
Leveson inquiry: McCanns and Sheryl Gascoigne give evidence, 23 November 2011
Leveson inquiry: McCanns and Sheryl Gascoigne give evidence The Guardian(Live Blog)
Full coverage as Madeleine McCann's parents join
Paul Gascoigne's ex-wife in giving evidence on press intrusion
and Josh Halliday Wednesday 23 November 2011 19.15 GMT
Here's a round up of the main points from the day
• Kate McCann says she felt
"totally violated" when the News of the World published her private diaries. Gerry McCann calls for inquiry
to establish how the tabloid got hold of them.
• Photographers jumped out of hedges to snap Kate McCann
to get a "startled" look. Paparazzi pictures of private individuals should not be published without
written consent, says McCann.
• Stories based on "unverifiable" and "made up sources"
on Madeleine McCann appeared a daily basis. Daily Star's claim that they had sold Madeleine's body was 'nothing
short of disgusting' he says.
• Sheryl Gascoigne told of how she had to "crawl on her hands
and knees" in her home to avoid the paparazzi snapping her through her windows.
says everyone in the public eye knows the PCC is "a waste of time".
Mark Lewis said libel law used to be for the rich, now it is "for the very rich".
We're now wrapping up the blog for the evening.
We will be back tomorrow morning but the hearing will initially
be held in camera to allow an anonymous witness, HJK, to testify
Four other witnesses will appear tomorrow, starting
with Sienna Miller, who will take the stand some time after 10am, depending on the length of the testimony of the first anonymous
The solicitor Mark Thomson, who acts for Miller and several other alleged phone hacking
victims including Hugh Grant and Jude Law will be up second.
He will be followed by the former Formula One boss
Max Mosley who won a privacy action against the News of the World in July 2008.
Last up will be
the Harry Potter author JK Rowling.
culture secretary Harriet Harman has called for James Murdoch to explain why he has stepped down from the
boards of News Group Newspapers and Times Newspapers.
"James Murdoch should make clear why he has stepped
down in this way. This does not lessen in any way the need for him to answer questions or take responsibility for what happened
on his watch. Furthermore, the concerns about whether he is a fit and proper person to run BSkyB remain," she said in
6.14pm: We've just got hold of the News of the World
apology to the McCanns on May 21, September 2008, a week after Kate McCann's private diaries appeared in the paper.
Kate told the Leveson inquiry today that she felt "violated" by the publication of the diaries.
the Guardian's story on the inquest into the death Sean Hoare, the former News of the World story who blew the whistle on phone hacking in an interview last year with the New York Times.
5.26pm: The Leveson inquiry has confirmed the running order for tomorrow
morning is as follows:
HJK - the anonymous witness. This part of the hearing will not be open to the public or
• Sienna Miller • Mark Thomson • Max Mosley • J K Rowling
5.20pm: Here's a round up of the main points from Kate and Gerry
• Kate McCann says she felt 'totally violated' by the publication
of her diaries
• Gerry McCann calls for inquiry to establish how the News of the World got hold of Kate's
• Paparazzi pictures of private individuals should not be published without written consent,
• A newspaper claim that they had sold Madeleine's body was 'nothing short of disgusting'
• Photographers jumped out of hedges to get 'startled' look on Kate McCann's face
to suit headlines describing her as 'frail and fragile
• Lives are being harmed, the commercial imperative
to print is not acceptable, says Gerry
4.30pm: Sean Hoare,
the former News of the World journalist who blew the whistle on phone hacking at the paper died of natural causes, related
to liver disease, an inquest has concluded.
Hoare died in July. The Press Association reports this:
Hoare's body was found after his father called police due to his concern that he had not been heard from
for several days.
When officers went to his flat on July 18, they forced their way inside after seeing a body when
they looked through the letterbox and found Hoare found lying on his back across his bed.
Detective Chief Inspector
Mark Ross, of Hertfordshire Police, the only witness to give evidence in the inquest, said officers found no signs of forced
entry or foul play inside the flat, while a small amount of alcohol was found along with an empty can of cider.
said Dr Ashley Fegan-Earl, the pathologist who carried out a post-mortem examination on Hoare, found he showed advanced stage
alcoholic disease, and the symptoms of jaundiced skin and easily bruising were evident as he had extensive bruising to his
back and left side, which were consistent with a fall.
Thomas said Hoare had also confirmed that her husband fell
over a lot and had "good and bad days" with his health, often having little energy in the weeks leading up to his
Toxicology tests showed "comparatively low levels" of alcohol in his system, at 76mg per 100ml
of blood, just under the legal driving limit of 80mg.
Thomas said it was not possible to tell how long he had been
dead but his death was likely to have been sudden.
Stuart Hoare, his brother who attended the inquest on behalf
of the family, the coroner said he had been touched by all the tributes he had been given to read.
across as a real person to me, not just somebody that's died," he said.
"It's really nice to
read about him and obviously a lot of people thought very highly of him."
Mr Thomas went on: "He started
work at the Watford Observer and was very happy there and then he worked for the nationals.
"I think he found
it quite hard at the News of the World. I think it was very stressful."
He said Mr Hoare had become a heavy
drinker "partly through his occupation".
"The culture of the occupation was in relation to drink,"
4.11pm: The Leveson inquiry has now finished for
The Leveson Inquiry
4.05pm: Leveson says the issue is that HJK is afraid he will say something that will
compromise his privacy.
The lawyers will see and hear him, but his evidence will have no wider distribution.
The transcript of his evidence will be made public.
HJK is an ordinary member of the public and the hearing will be held in private, says David Barr, junior counsel to the QC.
His statement has been distributed to core witnesses, but Barr suggests that the public would be excluded from the
court while HJK gives evidence, there will be no video or audio broadcast of HJK's evidence.
The inquiry is going to hear from an anonymous witness tomorrow morning, code named HJK.
The name has been derived
from three consecutive letters on a keyboards
4.00pm: The McCanns
have finished. The inquiry is now hearing some legal discussion about redacted statements.
Robert Jay QC says they
if they spent hours on redactions each day the inquiry will find itself in a cul de sac.
Leveson intervenes to tell the McCanns that journalism is not like medicine; that journalists practice "freedom of expression"
and regulation of this is different to the General Medical Council which has a range of sanctions against bad practice.
Gerry McCann says he would like it to be known that he is a staunch supporter of the press and free speech but that
"substandard reporting" involving "unverifiable" and "made up" sources is a "daily occurence".
3.53pm: McCann on journalistic standards:
He has looked at
the submission by the National Union of Journalists.
"There are standards but there
are no penalties for not sticking to them.
I've seen no journalist or edit brought to account, be it the Express
or any other group, It they are repeat offenders they should lose their privilege of practising"
Kate and Gerry McCann at Leveson 3.48pm: Gerry McCann says newspapers should never be allowed publish snatched photographs
of individuals going about their ordinary business.
"What I find disturbing is when
you're being followed; when you're being put in danger by reporters' or photographers' behaviour.
[these people],. take a photograph, use it in their product which they then can sell and make a profit and you have no say.
That needs to be remedied.
You should not be able to publish photographs of private individuals going about their
private business without their explicit consent, signed."
Gerry says that they've seen "longlasting damage as a result of the headlines", mentioning a Spanish taxi driver
who he says recently referred to them in person as "the parents who were accused of murdering their own daughter".
Gerry says that if you go on the internet - which their twins will be doing - most of the allegations are still there
and "we will have to continue dealing with them going forward".
Gerry McCann says "something has to change" in the media and "commercial imperative" should not be the
He says the media does many good things, but its power needs to be balanced with responsibility.
"We speak from experience about how powerful media are and how much damage they can
What we see on a daily basis on the front page, tabloid sometimes followed by a clamour of 24 hours media and
the internet blurring...stories which appear to have no factual basis, or are inaccurate or distorted.
is being written and lives are being harmed by these stories. And something has to change. A commercial imperative is not
3.37pm: Gerry McCann says that, like Sheryl
Gascoigne, he too was "only vaguely aware of the PCC".
"The general feeling
was that the PCC was not equipped to deal with the accusations, the number of them and the severity"
3.34pm: We now have a close up of the Kate diaries story in the News of the World
and the journalist's byline on the piece is Daniel Sanderson.
Kate McCann's diaries in News of the World 3.31pm: The McCanns are now talking about the publication of
their book. Gerry said he was "somewhat horrified" that serialisation rights might go to News of the World given
"how we had been treated in the past".
Eventually the deal was done that excluded serialisation, but
the McCann's eventually did a deal with News International.
"We were subsequently
apporached by New International and Associated to serialise the book.
We had a couple of meetings with Will Lewis
and Rebekah Brooks and others.
What swung the decision was that News International committing to back the campaign
and search for Madeleine.
We had been lobbying for two years behind the scenes to try and get a review of Madeleine's
Ultimately the press have helped, galvanising the public [opinion], having them engaged. Intervention was
3.28pm: Audio of Kate McCann talking about
her diaries being published by the News of the World:
3.27pm: Gerry is now
talking about a more recent story which claims to report a potential sighting of Madeleine in India.
He says it
was irresponsible. If there had been a sighting, the article would have alerted the kidnappers who could then move.
There is only one conclusion, he says:
"The story has precedence over the safety
of our child"
3.24pm: The inquiry now hears how a freelancer
sold a story to the Sunday People falsely claiming that McCanns were undergoing IVF treatment to get a baby to replace Madeleine.
"We've had many weekends destroyed through trying to stop articles
like this going to press.
Weekends are important for us, for Gerry, it's our only bit of family time."
3.23pm: Gerry says that Clarence Mitchell, his PR, would regularly
speak to Ian Edmondson, then a NotW executive.
He says it was a "complete shock" when they heard that
NotW had published the diaries. Edmondson hadn't mentioned it.
Leveson suggests one way to find out the provenance of the story about Kate's diary was to check the byline on the story
and talk to the journalist.
3.20pm: The diaries had been translated,
it now appears, and then re-translated back to English with mistakes.
The story about Kate McCann's private diaries 3.17pm: Kate McCann says she felt "totally violated"
after the News of the World reprinted some of her private diaries.
In August 2007 the police in Portugal had seized
Kate McCann's diary.
Entries and private conversations she wrote to Madeleine then appeared in the papers in
"I felt totally violated. I'd written these words at the most desparate
time of my life. It was my only way of communicating with Madeleine. It made me feel very vulnerable and small. I just couldn't
3.15pm: The editor of the News of the World
was not happy with their decision to do an interview with the celebrity magazine.
Mr Colin Myler was 'irate',
"He was berating us for not doing an interview with NOW and telling us
how supportive he had been. .. At the time of stress for us on the first anniversary ..."
beat us into submission verbally and we agreed to do an interview the day after
was an extremely stressful time. I twas therun up to the a year..and to get a call l like this, you almost feel guilty. we've
helped you, we've got a reward, it's almost like somebody won't help you unless you give something back."
3.12pm: Many of the media outlets didn't want to run the story
about the missing child alert.
Then then decided to do an interview with Hello! magazine said it was distributed
in 14 different countries.
3.11pm: Gerry and Kate say that Evening
Standard was another bad offender with a 'corpse in the car' story.
Associated, the then owner, published
an apology in the Standard after the couple brought libel proceedings. However, the Daily Mail did not publish an apology,
Gerry points out.
3.09pm: Gerry says there was "a dramatic seachange"
in Express newspapers following the settlement and coverage turned more responsible. He says that they've still had to
have Express articles pulled, and in hindsight wishes they'd taken legal action earlier.
3.03pm: The Express
group paid £500,000 in damages to the McCanns with a front page apology.
Leveson now reads out the apology
Daily Express apology to the McCanns 3.01pm: When the McCanns complained, the Express then suggested that they do
an interview with OK magazine, part of the proprietor Richard Desmond's stable of publications.
"...Which we found rather breath-taking"
They are now looking at some stories in the Daily Star of the McCann case in 2007.
by hard-up McCanns." read one headline Jay says to Gerry - you probably "don't want
to dignify this with a comment". Gerry replies:
short of disgusting."
Kate then intervenes:
same journalists said we stored her body in a freezer. We just ..."
The McCanns are now discussing the libellous articles in the Express.
McCann says the articles were "incredible"
and based on complete inaccuracies.
These articles have been removed from the Express website
2.53pm: Gerry and Kate McCann's witness statement has now been made public
2.51pm: The McCanns are now talking about the Express group newspapers
which included the Daily Star and the Sunday Star and Daily Express.
Their solicitors at Kingsley Napley had written
the he Express explicitly twice, the content was libellous and the McCann's had reserved the right to take action.
"It's important to emphasis that we had met with a libel specialist
and had taken about legal action which for us was always a last resort"
Kate now talks about how "desperate" they were to find Madeleine and they had to endure headlines about a "corpse"
in the car and "body fluids" in the car.
There were no body fluids in the car, but this was repeated
so often, she said, it became fact.
"We were trying to find our daughter," she said and the press was
compromising her choice of finding her.
2.43pm: Gerry is now talking
about being besieged by the press who stayed camped outside their house every day until December 2007.
would be the same photograph every day me the children in the car.
Often they [the photographer] would spring out
from a hedge so they could get a startled look so they could attach frail or fragile [to the caption or headline]"
[her daughter] would say 'Mummy I'm scared'
twins were only two years old and frightened."
The witness statement of Sheryl Gascoigne is now been made public.
He now is talking about in August 2007 that a newspaper reported they were involved in the "killing" of Madeleine.
"Headlines like that became very prominent once we were made arguido"
2.39pm: Gerry says it is correct to say that at least one newspaper had said the story
about his missing daughter helped "boost circulation".
Gerry is now talking about the impact of being labeled "arguido" – which means 'person of interest'
if translated into English law.
He notes it was not necessarily a bad thing, but there were leaks by parts of the
police investigations team that suggested that Madeleine was dead and that we were involved, Gerry says.
says "clearly" the British press took 'arguido' to mean suspect.
Gerry recalls the headline in the Daily Mirror declaring "She's dead".
was about 11pm and they were just about to go to bed.
That was one of the most distressing headlines that was just
taken from supposition. It was incredible"
says his decision to go to Rome was criticised in some quarters.
"Then there were more
sinister elements that started to creep into the reporting
The first thing was an article in a piopgu pact of silence,
starting to infer there was some sort of sinister agreement between us and our friends [to conceal what went on]
I thought that as ludicrous... we were all acting under judicial secrecy [and weren't allowed talk]"
2.31pm: Gerry says it didn't take long before innuendo crept in.
"Stories became highly speculative...
Unless our phones were hacked, which I don't think
they were, these were simply made up."
Warner holidays sent out an executive from PR firm Bell Pottinger to help manage the media.
Clarence Mitchell was
seconded to the FCO as part of the media liaison in Portugal.
"At times we've been
criticised for having someone to deal with the media, but the volume of the press nationally and internationally. I don't
know ho Clarence managed it, but it was a full time job.
We had no prior experience of dealing with the media,
but it gave us a little bit of protection. Obviously we were working behind the scenes and it gave us a little bit of time
with our family as well"
2.27pm: Gerry says
he cannot say for certain whether the Portuguese police were leaking but it is a reasonable assumption to make.
says there were snippets of information that British press could not tell was true but was reported on because it was in the
It was often made up, he says.
Gerry McCann talks about the lack of control over the information issued to journalists in Portugal.
there was a "ferocious appetite in the United Kingdom" and had the British police been controlling it, they may
have been advised, journalists may have been "steered" in certain directions and "away from certain areas"
2.22pm: Gerry McCann on his first reaction to the arrival of the press:
"I thought it would be an opportunity to issue an appeal. I had no guidance on that.
We could the distinct impression that there was a genuine want to help among journalists...there was a huge amount
of empathy. I really did feel early on there was a desire to help."
Gerry McCann tells how the press descended on the Algarve after his daughter disappeared.
He recalls being in the
police station and could literally see "tens of, if not hundreds of journalists" outside the apartment including
2.20pm: Robert Jay is now asking the questions
Leveson inquiry: Kate and Gerry McCann 2.18pm: There are four main areas I would like to give evidence
on, Gerry says.
2. Privacy laws and gaps in legislation at the minute where newspapers can
hound you, use photographs without your consent for commercial gain.
4. Standards of journalism
2.16pm: Gerry McCann is asked if it was helpful that Madeleine was in
the public eye all the time.
"I do not feel it's helpful particulary in 2007 and
2008. There was an incredible amount of confusion."
was on the front page every day for a period It isn't the case, when a story is so negative, it's not helpful"
2.15pm: David Sherborne, barrister for the phone victims is first up with questions.
Gerry McCann says he would like to see a system put in place for a press that falls well below the standards that
2.13pm: Leveson says he is very grateful to them for
"Nobody with children could fail to appreciate the terrible impact the abduction of your child
has on your family", says Leveson before Robert Jay, QC, starts to ask them questions.
Kate and Gerry McCann are now being sworn into the inquiry.
Leveson inquiry: NI under pressure over Kate McCann diaries, 23 November 2011
Leveson inquiry: NI under pressure over Kate McCann diaries The Guardian
Madeleine McCann's mother says she felt 'totally violated' as father demands investigation
into how NoW got hold of diaries
Josh Halliday and Lisa O'Carroll Wednesday 23 November 2011 17.32 GMT
Kate and Gerry McCann, whose three-year-old daughter Madeleine went missing
in 2007 during a holiday in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz, give evidence to the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking
News International has come under pressure to explain how it got hold of Kate McCann's private diaries
and published them without permission in the News of the World in September 2008.
Gerry McCann, the father of missing
Madeleine, demanded a fresh investigation into the publication of the diaries in a powerful two-hour testimony before the
Leveson inquiry into media ethics on Wednesday.
His wife Kate sat with him throughout two hours of evidence, and
said that she "felt totally violated" by the diaries' publication, recalling the News of the World front page
headlined "Kate's diary".
"I'd written these words at the most desperate time of my life.
It was my only way of communicating with Madeleine. It made me feel very vulnerable and small. I just couldn't believe
it," she said.
"I have looked back at my diaries from that time and I talk about climbing into a hole
and not climbing out, because I just felt so worthless because of all this."
Kate McCann said she believed
that the diary was taken from her by Portuguese police and was later returned. However, she said that someone must have photocopied
the private diary and given it to the press.
She said there were minor differences in her own diaries and those
that were published by the NoW, leading her to believe that they had been translated from Portuguese and back again.
Gerry McCann said that the couple's media adviser Clarence Mitchell spoke to Ian Edmondson, then a senior news editor
at the News of the World, the week before the title had published the diaries. Edmondson gave no indication about what they
were intending to publish, McCann said.
The News of the World apologised a week later, and said at the time "We
published the extracts in the belief held in good faith that we had Kate's permission to do so."
also told the inquiry how Colin Myler, the former editor of the News of the World, "berated" the couple in a telephone
call in May 2008 after they gave an interview to a rival magazine.
He then told the inquiry how the couple had
agreed to do an interview with Hello magazine to mark the first anniversary of Madeleine going missing in May 2008.
Myler was "irate" that the couple had agreed to do an interview with a rival publication, McCann said.
"It would be fair to say that Mr Myler was irate when he learned of the publication, and was berating us for not doing
an interview with the News of the World, and told us 'how supportive' the News of the World had been," McCann
"It was a time of stress for us on the first anniversary when we were actually launching a new campaign,
a new call number for people to come forward so that we could continue the search for our daughter, and we were interacting
with the media to get that message out.
"He basically beat us into submission, verbally, and we agreed to
do an interview the following day."
Lord Justice Leveson suggested that the inquiry would attempt to get to
the bottom of how the NoW published the diaries.
But McCann did not reserve his criticism for News International.
He told how the couple were the target of headlines and stories in the Daily Express and Daily Star that were "nothing
short of disgusting".
Why Kate and Gerry McCann are no longer afraid of the British press, 23 November
Why Kate and Gerry McCann are no longer afraid of the British press The Guardian
What kind of people would accuse them of 'selling' a daughter? Esther Addley hears the couple's shaming
Esther Addley Wednesday 23 November 2011 19.49 GMT
Some people are frightened of the British media. Sheryl Gascoigne, a woman who 15 years ago contracted
a brief marriage to Britain's best-loved footballer until she tired of his drunken beatings and left him, confessed to
the Leveson inquiry on Wednesday that she was "scared of the repercussions" even of appearing before it, and of
the fury she might call down on her children by giving evidence about crawling on the carpet of her living room to avoid being
photographed through the curtains.
Kate and Gerry McCann, on the other hand, do not appear to be afraid of the
press. What, after all, is it going to do to them? Accuse them of killing their three-year-old daughter Madeleine and transporting
her corpse in their hire car? They've done that already, many times over. Report that they were undergoing IVF to get
a "new" child to "replace" Madeleine? Done that too.
Suggest they were taking part in orgies
and swingers' parties? That they had kept Madeleine's body in their freezer after murdering her? That they had sold
their daughter into slavery to pay off family debts? They've seen it all before. Each one of those allegations appeared
in a British newspaper in the months after this ordinary couple from rural Leicestershire became the victims of the most terrible
crime any parent can imagine, the kidnap of their child.
Among the sorry litany of grievances outlined by the McCanns
on Wednesday was a complaint about the way images of them, often obtained by photographers leaping out to startle them, had
been "distorted" to fit a desired description of them as "frail" or "fragile".
so I won't describe them as fragile, though both spoke in low voices and Mrs McCann, in particular, appeared bruised by
the experience. It seems inappropriate in any case, since having survived that kind of onslaught they are evidently made of
formidable stuff – or perhaps they have simply found no alternative than to doggedly continue.
four and a half years of hunting, at times almost alone, for a lost little girl, taking savage blows to their reputations
along the way, they seemed pale and pained, badly beaten up. After a verbatim transcript of Kate McCann's personal diary
was reproduced in the News of the World in September 2008, she felt, she said, "like climbing into a hole and not coming
out, because I just felt so worthless that we would be treated like that". (The paper's news editor, incidentally,
had told the McCanns' representative earlier in the week that it would be publishing a "supportive" piece that
Perhaps the most appalling aspect of the McCanns' testimony, in which they relived what has a good
claim to be the British media's most ignoble and shaming episode of recent times, is that little of this is new. Millions
read the articles in question; plenty, too (though considerably fewer) will have seen grovelling apologies by some of the
papers that published them, admitting that there was and remains absolutely no evidence that the child's disappearance
was anything other than a terrible crime, the kidnap by a stranger.
And yet, for all that was familiar, the McCanns
have not given evidence to a court or inquiry before, so some of the details they had to share of their backroom dealings
with the media were new, and as edifying as you might expect. This was the first occasion, for example, on which they have
told how an "irate" Colin Myler, then editor of the News of the World, personally telephoned them to "berate"
them for granting an interview to Hello! to publicise a child safety campaign. They found themselves apologising to Myler,
and, "beaten into submission", agreeing to an interview with his paper.
Nor was it widely known that
when the couple finally decided to sue the publishers of the Daily Express, Sunday Express and Daily Star, their behind-the-scenes
efforts to avoid legal action having been met with such headlines as "Maddy 'sold' by hard-up McCanns",
they were told by the group's lawyers that it would not apologise, but if they liked it would grant them an interview
with OK! magazine. Express Newspapers eventually paid £550,000 to the Find Madeleine fund and published apologies. "They
were on the front page," said Mr McCann. "We insisted."
The couple sat closely, shooting glances
at each other from time to time. The sleeve of Mrs McCann's cardigan was rolled up, her husband's cuff pulled back
as he frequently raised a glass of water to his mouth. Both were wearing on their right wrists the green and yellow cuffs
they have sported since their daughter's disappearance, reflecting the colours used in Portugal and Britain to commemorate
the missing. Remember Madeleine.
Leveson inquiry: McCanns deliver damning two-hour testimony, 23 November 2011
Leveson inquiry: McCanns deliver damning two-hour testimony The Guardian
Couple describe the ordeal they suffered at hands of media and make impassioned plea for press
James Robinson Wednesday 23 November 2011 20.37 GMT
[Video embedded here - same as 'NI under pressure over Kate McCann diaries' article]
Kate and Gerry McCann, whose three-year-old daughter Madeleine went missing in 2007
during a holiday in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz, give evidence to the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking
and Gerry McCann made an impassioned plea for press regulation after delivering an emotional account of their treatment by
the tabloids, describing the string of "disgusting" and "offensive" stories published about them.
Appearing as witnesses at the Leveson inquiry into press standards, the McCanns gave the most powerful testimony heard so
far, speaking for nearly two hours without a break as they described the ordeal they have been subjected to by parts of the
media since their daughter Madeleine went missing in Portugal four years ago.
Kate McCann told a hushed courtroom
at the Royal Courts of Justice in London how she felt "totally violated" after the publication by the News of the
World of her personal diaries in which she recorded her thoughts about her missing daughter.
She said the now defunct
newspaper had showed "absolutely no respect for me as a grieving mother" when it ran the story in September 2008
under the headline Kate's Diary: In Her Own Words. "I'd written these words, my thoughts, at the most desperate
time of my life," she said.
Mrs McCann added that she had talked about "climbing into a hole and not
coming out" after the article appeared. "It made me feel very vulnerable and small. That whole week was very traumatic
and every time I thought about it I couldn't believe the injustice."
Her husband, Gerry, said the couple
wanted an investigation into how the diary, which was seized and copied by Portuguese police, was leaked to the Murdoch tabloid.
Lord Justice Leveson, who has legal powers to summon witnesses and compel evidence, indicated that he might heed their call.
Mr McCann said British newspapers had declared "open season" on them a few months after Madeleine's
disappearance in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in May 2007. It was "crass and insensitive", he argued, to
say that because they engaged with the media in an attempt to find their daughter "the press can write whatever they
like about you without punishment. There are standards but there are no penalties for not sticking to them. I see front page
headlines every day … and I think information is being written and lives are being harmed by these stories and something
has to change. The commercial imperative is not acceptable."
The McCanns' evidence is likely to strengthen
the argument for a stricter regime of press regulation. Leveson, who was appointed by David Cameron at the height of the phone-hacking
crisis, is due to report within a year.
The McCanns painted a disturbing picture of life at the centre of a media
scrum. Gerry McCann said: "We expected the storm to calm with the passage of time but it continued day after day. We
had anecdotal evidence from the British journalists in Praia da Luz that the story of Madeleine's disappearance had caught
the imagination of the British public and was driving sales in the UK. As a result those journalists were under intense pressure
from their newsdesks to file more copy."
Photographers camped outside the house, Kate McCann said, frightening
their two young children. "There were several occasions where they would bang on the windows. Amelie said to me several
times: 'Mummy, I'm scared.'"
Her husband accused a former editor of the News of the World, Colin
Myler, of "berating" them for conducting a 2008 interview with Hello! magazine on the first anniversary of Madeleine's
The couple sued Express Newspapers and secured unprecedented front-page apologies in 2008 after
two of the group's titles ran stories which included the allegation that they had sold their daughter to pay off debts.
Describing that as "nothing short of disgusting", Gerry McCann said he was amazed no one at Express Newspapers,
which also paid the couple record damages of £550,000, had lost their job.
"I've seen no journalist
or editor brought to account, be it the Express or any other group … they are repeat offenders, they should lose their
privilege of practising," he said.
The McCanns argued that newspapers should not be allowed to take pictures
of subjects when they are in public places. They also spoke movingly about their reaction to a front-page Daily Mirror story
about Madeleine that declared: "She's dead". It was based on an article in a Portuguese paper, which quoted
a source close to the police investigation who said they didn't know if she was alive or dead. Gerry McCann said they
learned about the story at 11pm when they were just about to go to bed. "That was one of the most distressing headlines
that was just taken from supposition. It was incredible."
Talking about her diary, Kate McCann said she believed
that it was taken from her by Portuguese police and later returned. However, she said that someone must have photocopied the
private diary and given it to the press.
She said there were minor differences between her own diaries and those
that were published by the NoW, leading her to believe that they had been translated from Portuguese and back again.
The paper apologised a week after publishing the diaries and said: "We published the extracts in the belief held in
good faith that we had Kate's permission to do so."
Leveson indicated that he might call the journalist
who wrote the story to give evidence and might also question other senior executives at the paper, which was closed by Rupert
Murdoch in July, about how the diaries were obtained.
Earlier in the day Sheryl Gascoigne, the former wife of Paul
Gascoigne, told the inquiry that she had been hounded by press photographers while heavily pregnant. She said she was forced
to crawl on her hand and knees while her arm was in a sling to escape the paparazzi.
Gascoigne told Leveson that
everyone in the public eye knew that the Press Complaints Commission was "a waste of time". She said corrections
should be given the same prominence in newspapers as the articles in which they originally appeared.
the solicitor whose clients include the footballers' union chief Gordon Taylor, Milly Dowler's parents and the ex-Premier
League footballer Garry Flitcroft, also gave evidence to the inquiry.
He said he had been warned in a telephone
call that Paul Dacre, editor-in-chief of the Daily Mail, would sue him if he continued to claim that the paper had been involved
in phone hacking.
Lewis said that threat was made in a phone conversation with a Daily Mail lawyer, Liz Hartley,
on 25 January 2011. "Be aware that Paul Dacre is someone who will sue you if you suggest that we were involved in hacking,"
Hartley allegedly told him.
He also claimed that he had heard from a journalist that Rebekah Brooks, former chief
executive of News International, had threatened to "get him back" for demanding her resignation and that she would
exact her revenge in another newspaper.
Verdict on the McCanns' treatment: little short of a national disgrace, 23
Verdict on the McCanns' treatment: little short of a national disgrace The Guardian
Evidence from Gerry and Kate McCann to the Leveson inquiry has given experts much to consider about regulation
of the press
Dan Sabbagh Wednesday 23 November 2011 20.49 GMT
It took Kate and Gerry McCann to transform the Leveson inquiry, which in its first three days had struggled
to reach a serious tone. Hugh Grant did offer a compelling account of a life lived at the centre of media attention, but he
is still a highly paid film star with the kind of colourful love life newspapers and the public find hard to resist. Other
witnesses fell flat, notably Steve Coogan, who spent too much of his evidence complaining about how interviewers had artfully
prised personal information out of him, which is hardly something that needs to be regulated. Not every interviewee, after
all, is supposed to like the resulting piece.
But what happened to the McCanns at the hands of the tabloid press
in the 18 months or so after their daughter's disappearence was – as their lawyer, David Sherborne, said –
little short of a national disgrace. The inquiry heard an account of repeated violations of truth and privacy by every major
tabloid, built up over two measured hours of testimony from Gerry McCann, punctuated by Kate's more emotional contributions.
While the couple acknowledged help and support from the press when they received it, their criticisms amounted to a plea for
reform that will be very difficult for Lord Justice Leveson to dismiss.
It was Richard Desmond's newspapers,
the Express and Star titles, that paid out £550,000 in libel damages after a string of defamatory articles. Their apology
was on the front page – "unprecedented", as both papers could not help trumpeting – but as Gerry McCann
observed, despite all the mistakes, nobody had resigned. "I've seen no journalist or editor brought to account, be
it the Express or any other group ... repeat offenders should lose their privilege of practising," he said.
He might have said the same about the News of the World, which printed a copy of Kate McCann's personal diary. Her husband
pleaded for the judge to find out how the diary – taken as evidence in Portugal where Madeleine went missing –
ended up in the hands of the paper in a version translated from Portuguese and back into English again. Leveson noted that
he had the legal powers to find out what happened – and in an instant, statutory regulation of the press had arrived.
Kate McCann described the actions of the paparazzi. They would wait every day for her to get in the car with her two
other children, and on some occasions "they'd bang on the window" to get the expressions they wanted. The picture
was enough, she observed, to attach "fragile, furious or whatever they wanted to put in the headline" – carrying
on despite the fact that the Press Complaints Commission code of practice says quite clearly that "journalists must not
engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit". So, when, later, Gerry McCann demanded a change in the rules
when it comes to the taking of the photographs in public places, his call for reform packed a real punch.
should not be able to publish photographs of private individuals going about their private business without their explicit
consent," he argued. To bring in such a rule really would require the introduction of a privacy law, and while few in
the press would welcome that, after hearing both the McCanns speak it would take a brave onlooker to conclude that they did
not have something of a point. And as a result of their contribution, Lord Justice Leveson has plenty to contemplate.
Kate McCann felt 'violated' by newspaper, 23 November 2011
Sam Marsden, Rosa Silverman, Catherine Wylie Wednesday
23 November 2011
Kate McCann told the Leveson Inquiry today that she felt like "climbing into
a hole and not coming out" when the News of the World printed her intensely personal diary.
feeling "violated" by the paper's publication of the leaked journal, which she began after her daughter Madeleine
disappeared on holiday in Portugal in 2007.
Mrs McCann, 43, said the diary - which was so private she did not even
show it to her husband Gerry - was her only way of communicating with her missing daughter.
She had just returned
from church on Sunday September 14 2008 when she received a text message from a friend which read "Saw your diary in
the newspapers, heartbreaking. I hope you're all right", the press standards inquiry heard.
recalled that this came "totally out of the blue" and left her with a "horribly panicky feeling".
The News of the World had apparently obtained a translation of her diary from the Portuguese police and published it without
her permission, the inquiry was told.
Mrs McCann said: "I felt totally violated. I had written these words
at the most desperate time of my life, and it was my only way of communicating with Madeleine.
absolutely no respect shown for me as a grieving mother or a human being or to my daughter.
"It made me feel
very vulnerable and small, and I just couldn't believe it.
"It didn't stop there. It's not just
a one-day thing. The whole week was incredibly traumatic and every time I thought about it, I just couldn't believe the
"I just recently read through my diary entries at that point in that week, and I talk about climbing
into a hole and not coming out because I just felt so worthless that we had been treated like that."
43, said his wife felt "mentally raped" by the News of the World's publication of the journal under the headline:
"Kate's diary: in her own words."
Mr McCann said the story gave the impression that his wife had
authorised the publication of the diary.
"This added to our distress as it gave the impression that we were
willing to capitalise financially on inherently private information, which could not have been further from the truth,"
he said in a statement to the inquiry.
The News of the World's then-deputy editor, Ian Edmondson, had told
the couple's spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, that the paper was going to run a positive article that week but did not mention
that it had a copy of Mrs McCann's diary.
The McCanns, from Rothley, Leicestershire, also described how News
of the World editor Colin Myler "beat them into submission" after they gave an interview to a rival publication.
Mr Myler was "irate" when he learned that they had spoken to Hello! magazine around the first anniversary
of Madeleine's disappearance to promote a Europe-wide alert system for missing children, the inquiry heard.
McCann said: "He was berating us for not doing an interview with the News of the World and told us how supportive the
newspaper had been.
"He basically beat us into submission, verbally, and we agreed to do an interview the
The couple said on other occasions they had to stop newspapers from publishing untrue stories,
giving the example of a false claim that they had undergone IVF treatment to have another baby to "replace Madeleine".
There was another time when they had to persuade a Scottish Sunday paper not to publish a photograph of them with
Madeleine as a baby, which a journalist had obtained from Mr McCann's mother Eileen, the inquiry was told.
McCann said: "They were fighting it, actually saying 'We've got the picture'. It was like 'It's our
Mr McCann acknowledged that the media had helped the couple to launch appeals
which brought in "huge amounts of information" about the possible whereabouts of their daughter, who was nearly
four when she vanished from her family's holiday flat in Praia da Luz in the Algarve in May 2007.
how the early support they received from journalists gradually changed over the summer and they came to face a barrage of
After they returned to Britain in September 2007, photographers camped outside their house,
hid behind hedges and, on several occasions, banged on their windows, the inquiry heard.
The couple eventually
took legal action against Express Newspapers, and in March 2008 received £550,000 in damages paid to their fund to find
Madeleine and front-page apologies in the Star and Express titles.
Mr McCann called today for reforms to press
regulation, including rules banning the publication of photographs of private individuals going about their business without
their written consent.
Explaining why the couple wanted to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, he said: "It
is for one simple reason, in that we feel that a system has to be put in place to protect ordinary people from the damage
that the media can cause by their activity, which falls well below the standards that I would deem acceptable."
Meanwhile, lawyer Mark Lewis, who represents a number of phone hacking victims, claimed today that the illegal interception
of voicemails was "much more widespread" than just the News of the World.
He told the Leveson Inquiry
that hacking the phones of celebrities and other people in the news was "too easy to do" for journalists.
And he suggested that reporters, at least initially, thought of the practice as no worse than driving at 35mph in a 30mph
Mr Lewis also told the inquiry that News of the World journalists wrongly concluded that Professional Footballers
Association (PFA) chairman Gordon Taylor was having an affair after hacking his phone.
He said the paper's
reporters misinterpreted a voicemail message from a woman expressing her gratitude to Mr Taylor for speaking at her father's
funeral in which she said: "Thank you for yesterday, you were wonderful."
Prime Minister David Cameron
set up the Leveson Inquiry in July in response to revelations that the now-defunct News of the World commissioned a private
detective to hack murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone after she disappeared in 2002.
The first part of
the inquiry, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, is looking at the culture, practices and ethics of the press
The second part, examining the extent of unlawful activities by journalists, will not begin until detectives
have completed their investigation into alleged phone hacking and corrupt payments to police and any prosecutions have been
As predicted, the McCanns'
evidence to the Leveson inquiry was compelling. But while as always they seem to cut desperately sympathetic figures, when
it comes to the demonisation of News International, something doesn't quite add up.
The Guardian reports:
Kate McCann told a hushed courtroom at the Royal Courts of Justice in London how she felt "totally violated"
after the publication by the News of the World of her personal diaries in which she recorded her thoughts about her missing
She said the now defunct newspaper had showed "absolutely no respect for me as a grieving mother"
when it ran the story in September 2008 under the headline Kate's Diary: In Her Own Words. "I'd written these
words, my thoughts, at the most desperate time of my life," she said.
Absolutely fair, as far as the
diaries are concerned, but it's worth noting that by May this year, Kate McCann had appeared to forgive News International
for the intrusion. Forgiven them, in fact, to the extent she was prepared to let the Sun serialise revelations about
her sex life.
The splash - one of several that week - began:
After Madeleine was taken from us, my sexual
desire plummeted to zero.
Our sex life is not something I would normally be inclined to share and yet it is such
an integral part of most marriages that it doesn't feel right not to acknowledge this.
The article which
follows, as with the rest of the serialisation, is cringingly personal, was published just six months ago and was written
entirely voluntarily. As it contemplates another round of devastating headlines tomorrow,
News International might once again feel a little hard done by.
The Leveson Inquiry – victims of the media turn the tables on the press,
27 November 2011
The Leveson Inquiry – victims of the media turn the tables on the press carter-ruck.com
By Isabel Hudson Posted on November 27, 2011 11:59am
The Leveson Inquiry has been making headline news on an almost daily basis since it began to hear the evidence of a number
of victims of the media. While the Inquiry was largely prompted by the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, it is considering
evidence on far wider issues of press conduct, of which the testimony of Kate and Gerry McCann has proven a powerful example.
After their daughter Madeline was abducted in the Algarve, the McCanns were the subject of an unprecedented number
of highly defamatory and utterly baseless articles. These ranged from allegations that the couple had killed their daughter
and disposed of her body, to the equally abhorrent suggestion that they had sold Madeleine into white slavery in order to
pay off debts. Yet due to Portuguese laws of judicial secrecy, the McCanns were forbidden from speaking out. "We
were being tried by the media and unable to defend ourselves" Gerry McCann told the Inquiry.
explained that they were ultimately able to obtain some redress through the libel complaints which Carter-Ruck brought on
their behalves, and which led to front page apologies in a number of newspapers as well as donations of substantial damages
to the Find Madeleine fund.
The couple explained to the Inquiry, however, that their victimisation by the press
went much further than this. They had repeatedly been 'doorstepped' and harassed by photographers who had
caused considerable distress to their younger daughter and son, while a journalist had also managed to deceive Mr McCann’s
mother into handing over a private photograph of the family.
For Kate McCann, the worst moment came in 2008 when
lengthy extracts of her personal diary were splashed over the front page of the News of the World, without any warning. The
diary had been seized by Portuguese police who subsequently handed it back. Mrs McCann told the Inquiry:
felt totally violated. I had written these words at the most desperate time of my life, and it was my only way of communicating
with Madeleine…I just recently read through my diary entries at that point in that week, and I talk about climbing
into a hole and not coming out because I just felt so worthless that we had been treated like that."
Inquiry is expected ultimately to make recommendations as to how the culture, practice and ethics of the press may be improved
and better regulated, and in light of the evidence from the McCanns and the many other media victims it is difficult to see
how the Inquiry could conclude that anything short of a full overhaul in press regulation is necessary. In the meantime the
Inquiry is clearly providing an important platform for the victims of egregious press behaviour, who have previously struggled
to have their voices heard against the might of the media machine.
The Leveson Inquiry – victims of the media turn the tables on the press,
27 November 2011
The Leveson Inquiry – victims of the media turn the tables on the press carter-ruck.com
Screenshot of the original page, including the incorrect spelling of Madeleine and comments allowed onto
the page, after moderation by Carter-Ruck. Note: The posting by Jen (December 1, 2011 at 3:36 pm) was subsequently
Tuesday, 29 November 2011 FleetStreetBlues realises
that as the busy chair of an inquiry into the press, Lord Leveson barely has time to read the newspapers in the morning, let
alone a blog. But in the spirit of being helpful and assisting the inquiry...
Chris Jefferies' experience, as we first wrote way back before inquiries into the press were fashionable,
was appalling. But is the claim made yesterday by a former News of the World journalist that he tried to sell his
story to the paper true? It would be relevant, surely?
In fact, given it is relevant, and in light of
Kate McCann lambasting News International six months after it serialised her book, why not make it a standard question for
all witnesses? Have you ever sold or ever attempted to sell your story to a tabloid newspaper?
succeeded in getting Guido Fawkes to remove the Alastair Campbell evidence for now, and he'll be appearing to explain
himself before the inquiry on Thursday. But thanks to the Press Association, a key quote from the evidence now appears all
across the internet, everywhere from the Cambridge News to the Chorley Guardian. Will you be calling the
Press Association in to explain itself?
Yesterday, an ordinary member of the public was filmed without
her knowledge or consent in a public place, and then had her face splashed all over the newspapers. When will you be inviting
the angry tram passenger woman to appear before the inquiry?
In fact, what about the wider privacy implications
of YouTube in general? And if your remit only covers newspapers and newspaper websites but doesn't extend to cover other
websites, doesn't that make coming up with any recommendations on privacy or intrusion pretty much impossible?
Leveson inquqiry: Alastair Campbell admits sending witness statements Daily Record
By Ellen Branagh and Sam Marsden Nov 30 2011
Mr Campbell said some people in public life or the entertainment industry become "such big
figures" that they can be treated in any way, giving pop star Britney Spears' "inhumane" treatment as an
example, as well as the way the Princess of Wales was treated.
"There comes a point with some people in public
life or the entertainment industry where they are deemed to be such big figures that actually you can do and say anything
and it doesn't really matter," he said.
He saw a similar situation begin as coverage of Madeleine McCann's
disappearance unfolded, he said, and he wanted to contact her parents to warn about becoming a media "commodity".
"I remember when Madeleine McCann first went missing, I remember watching it and there was one point where -
I wish I had now - I thought 'I want to write to these people', because you could see what was happening.
"They thought they were using the media to help them in the hunt for their child, and I could see what was happening,
the media was using them to build them into a commodity.
"They became 'anything goes' people and you
could say or do anything.
"How nobody from the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) stood up and said 'Excuse
me, what is going on here?' when it was so obvious to anybody who was reading the newspapers and watching the television
is beyond me."
Mr Campbell said the public had been horrified by evidence they have heard so far during the
Leveson Inquiry, especially from victims such as the Dowlers and the McCanns.
But he added: "My argument is
that they are not atypical. This is what happens to anybody that they decide is a major news commodity."
Submission to the Leveson Inquiry from Alastair Campbell
The following is a series of extracts from Alastair Campbell's witness statement to
the Leveson Inquiry. The full statement is available to download at the end of this section. WHEN
HYSTERIA BECOMES INHUMANE
- Extracts -
However, when big news stories break, the written
press continues to have the capacity to set the agenda for the rest of the media, as Trevor Kavanagh said proudly to the inquiry's
seminar, and when they are in full cry, a hysteria can take hold which infects the broadcast media too. Of recent times, the
McCann case is a good example of this. Sometimes, stories become so big, in the eyes of large parts of the media, that an
'anything goes' mood sets in. The disappearance of Madeleine McCann was a moving and important story, which quickly
became a commodity in which most of the media got close to hysteria, which took it at times in the opposite direction to the
pursuit for truth. Even those parts of the media which acknowledged the hysteria - one or two of the broadsheets, some of
the broadcasters - could not resist going along with it. A point came where it was felt by some that the word 'Madeleine'
was a seller, almost at times on a par with Diana in the heyday of the Princess of Wales, and any story, no matter how cruel,
no matter how insubstantial or unchecked out, would go on the front, regardless of the pain it might cause, and regardless
of its veracity. The Express and Star were the worst offenders, which is why it is right they were the most
hurt by the subsequent libel claims. It is at least understandable, if often unfair, for newspapers to decide that people
used to being in the public eye - politicians, Royals, business leaders, celebrities and so forth - 'can handle it'
or that 'they want pubicity so they can't complain when things turn against them'. But I think much the same approach
is now taken to anyone who finds themselves in the public eye, through choice or not, with experience or not, and leads to
coverage which at times can only be described as inhumane. Anyone who for whatever reason got caught up in the hunt for Madeleine
became 'fair game' for anything, Not just the McCanns, but the friends they were on holiday with, one-time suspect
Robert Murat, and his girlfriend, have all successfully sued for libel. It is hard to imagine, however, that any financial
settlement could compensate for what happened to them when the media frenzy was at its height. They just became another news
The press will argue - as Sky's Kay Burley does in the interview - that the desire
for fame made the people we were discussing fair game for all they could throw at them. Interestingly, she mentions both politicians
and the McCanns as people who court publicity - the former to reach the public, the latter to keep the hunt for their daughter
in the public eye - and therefore have to take the downside. But what happens with 'major celebrities' now is that
once they are established as such, there are few if any timits placed on what kind of story is deemed permissible, or limits
on the tactics to get the story.
To some extent, the press are right to differentiate between
those who seek publicity, and who hire PRs to help them do so, and those who become newsworthy through no fault of their own.
I set out the above not for any innate feelings for celebrities, but to show that in fact the differentiation has ceased to
exist. When the McCanns became newsworthy, in the most horrible of circumstances, once the hysteria set in, the media treated
them in exactly the same way as they would a rock star dying from drug abuse, or a reality TV star failing to adapt to the
fame he or she had sought.
THE USELESSNESS OF THE PCC; AND WHAT MIGHT REPLACE IT
- Extract -
...It is also a weakness that the PCC cannot itself mount investigations, or step in publicly.
One of the most recent media coverage scandals - that of the Madeleine McCann disappearance - was crying out for leadership
within the industry. But none was forthcoming. The PCC stood to one side and let the hysteria develop, its code being broken
day in and day out, as it has over many other media frenzies.
Daily Mail proprietor felt 'concern' at Madeleine McCann coverage, 12
Daily Mail proprietor felt 'concern' at Madeleine McCann coverage The Guardian
Viscount Rothermere says he is 'deeply sympathetic' to McCanns but that he stood by editor Paul Dacre
Josh Halliday Monday 12 December 2011 18.48 GMT
Viscount Rothermere, the controlling shareholder of the Daily Mail,
said he had a "personal concern" about his title's coverage of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in 2007
as he gave evidence to parliament on Monday.
In a rare public appearance, Rothermere told a parliamentary committee
on privacy and injunctions that he was "very deeply sympathetic" to Kate and Gerry McCann but that he stood by Paul
Dacre, the Daily Mail editor-in-chief, over the title's coverage of the couple's search for their daughter.
Asked by Labour MP Paul Farrelly if the Daily Mail's coverage of the McCann family gave him cause for concern, Rothermere
said: "My paper writes about many things that give me personal cause for concern but I feel it's my duty to allow
editors the job to edit.
"If I picked up the phone every single time I disagreed with an article then I would
make their job a lot harder to do. I rely on the processes within the organisation and their obeyance of them in order to
run a professional outfit."
Asked again whether he had any concerns before the McCanns sued, Rothermere said:
"I am very deeply sympathetic to everything the McCanns have gone through."
Pressed by Farrelly, Rothermere
admitted: "I had personal concerns, yes. I think what the McCanns went through was very difficult for them but I did
not bring up the issue with Paul Dacre, if that answers your question."
The McCanns told the Leveson inquiry
into press standards three weeks ago how they were subject to a string of "disgusting" and "offensive"
stories after their daughter Madeleine went missing in Portugal four years ago.
Associated Newspapers, publisher
of the Daily Mail and formerly of the Evening Standard, made a substantial donation to the McCanns in 2008 after they sued
for libel. The Daily Mail agreed to carry free adverts on behalf of the Find Madeleine campaign but refused to apologise,
according to Gerry McCann. The Evening Standard agreed to publish an apology.
Rothermere, who rarely makes public
appearances on behalf of the company, added that it was important for proprietors to "fiercely protect" editors
of their newspapers as long as there had been "no gross dereliction" of duty. "I do not believe and the board
does not believe that any of the instances you've brought up today qualify under that," he added.
Farrelly compared Rothermere to James Murdoch, referring to the proprietor's "dispassionate replies" when pressed
on standards. "I do care about standards. Standards are important," Rothermere said. "I think that your comparison
to News International is unfair."