Kate and Gerry McCann have said press
regulation is still not working, after
receiving £55,000 in libel damages from
the Sunday Times.
The payout came over claims they had
withheld details about their daughter's
disappearance from the authorities.
Mr and Mrs McCann said the newspaper did
not provide them with a proper
opportunity to comment and chose not to
publish key parts of their response.
The Sunday Times said it has agreed a
settlement with Mr and Mrs McCann.
The McCanns said the allegations were
"grotesque and utterly false", and in
effect suggested they had deliberately
hindered the search for their daughter
Madeleine, who went missing in Portugal
Last December the paper printed an
apology which the McCanns said took two
months, and was on an inside page and
After instructing lawyers to sue for
damages they received the payout which
will be donated to two charities for
missing people and sick children.
But they said it showed the continued
failure of the industry to put its house
The allegations were made at a time when
the Sunday Times was arguing there was
no need for the independent regulation
proposed by the Leveson Inquiry into
The McCanns said in a statement: "The
Sunday Times has behaved disgracefully.
There is no sign of any post-Leveson
improvement in the behaviour of
newspapers like this."
They described the new Independent Press
Standards Organisation (Ipso), which
started its work last month as the
successor to the Press Complaints
Commission, as the "latest industry
It is not the first time Mr and Mrs
McCann have taken legal action against
In 2008, they accepted £550,000 libel
damages and front-page apologies from
Express Newspapers over allegations they
were responsible for Madeleine's death.
The McCanns have been prominent in the
Hacked Off group which campaigns for
press accountability following the News
of the World phone-hacking scandal.
At the Leveson Inquiry, the McCanns were
critical of their treatment by the
press, saying they were left distraught
by suggestions they were responsible for
Mr McCann told the inquiry many of the
stories were untruthful, sinister or, he
believed, made up.
Mrs McCann said seeing her private diary
published in the News of the World made
her feel "totally violated".
Sir Brian Leveson's report recommended
an independent, self-regulatory press
watchdog backed by legislation.
However, the three main Westminster
parties agreed a Royal Charter that
established a panel to independently
verify a new regulator, although Ipso
has not sought recognition from this.
A rival independent self-regulator,
Impress, has been set up by a group of
high-profile free speech campaigners
with the aim of becoming compliant with