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Daily Express editor: PCC 'should have intervened' in McCann story

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Daily Express editor: PCC 'should have intervened' in McCann story

Post  Annabel on Thu 12 Jan - 14:16

http://www.journalism.co.uk/news/daily-express-editor-pcc-should-have-intervened-in-mccann-case/s2/a547445/

Editor of the Daily Express Hugh Whittow tells the Leveson inquiry he supports the media group's decision to withdraw from the Press Complaints Commission
Posted: 12 January 2012 By: Rachel McAthy
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Hugh Whittow at Leveson

Hugh Whittow told the inquiry 'everybody had too much leeway' on reporting on the McCann case
Daily Express editor Hugh Whittow told the Leveson inquiry today that the Press Complaints Commission "should have intervened" in reports on the parents of missing child Madeleine McCann, for which the Express and Daily Star both made front-page apologies for in 2008.

In evidence to the Leveson inquiry Whittow was asked by counsel to the inquiry Robert Jay what the reasons were for publisher Northern & Shell's withdrawal from the PCC in January 2011, when it was excluded by the Press Standards Board of Finance (PressBof) for allegedly not paying a levy to support the commission.

The move meant the Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star, Star on Sunday and OK! Magazine have since not been covered by the PCC.

Whittow first told Jay that he did not know the "real reasons" as the decision was "taken at director level" and that he was not editor at that point.

When asked if it was his personal view that the decision should have been taken, he said he does "go along with it", adding that he did not think "it was serving our best interests at the time".

He went on to say that while he was "not an expert on this", the McCann story was "a huge problem for us", adding that the PCC "should have intervened".

In 2008, Express Newspapers paid damages to the McCanns and published front-page apologies for incorrect allegations made against the couple.

"Everybody had too much leeway," Whittow told the inquiry today. "As a result the story carried on and on."

In further questioning on this evidence by Jay, Whittow repeated that "in hindsight perhaps they [the PCC] might have been able to intervene".

Earlier in his evidence Whittow told the inquiry he would not "put anything in the paper unless I think it is true".

In reference to his written statement the editor confirmed that "ethics play a big role" in the titles he is responsible for.

"I am law abiding, I behave properly, I treat people properly," he said. "I will not publish anything unless I'm confident it's accurate."

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Re: Daily Express editor: PCC 'should have intervened' in McCann story

Post  chrissie on Thu 12 Jan - 15:08

I thought the McCanns didn't want the PCC to intervene? The PCC offered but they decided to take legal action against the Express instead ?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/feb/24/buscombe-pcc-madeleine-mccann

Snipped:
Buscombe defends PCC's failure to hold inquiry on Madeleine McCann coverage
MPs say it is an 'indictment on the PCC's record' that it stayed silent while newspapers were apparently breaching its code
Baroness Buscombe: said the PCC had held 'numerous discussions internally' about the McCann case.
Baroness Buscombe, the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, today defended the regulator's failure to launch an inquiry into press coverage of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in 2007.
Buscombe, who took up her role in April last year, was speaking after the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee criticised the PCC for staying silent for 10 months after McCann went missing while newspapers were apparently breaching its code of practice.
"In any other industry suffering such a collective breakdown ... any regulator worth its salt would have instigated an inquiry," the MPs said in their report. "It is an indictment on the PCC's record, that it signally failed to do so."
But Buscombe said the PCC had been constrained to act because the McCann family had not made a formal complaint to the watchdog about newspaper coverage.
The McCanns instead took legal action that resulted in a £550,000 payout from Express Newspapers, a private settlement with Associated Newspapers and an apology from the News of the World.
"It's very important to put it in context," Buscombe told The Media Show on BBC Radio 4 today.
"What actually happened was that as soon as the story broke, the PCC was very much in touch with the McCann family and repeatedly offered to help.
"The McCanns and the PCC over the months that followed were in touch and indeed Gerry McCann in this inquiry actually praised the PCC for helping very much in terms of privacy matters relating to their other children."
Buscombe said the PCC had held "numerous discussions internally" about the McCann case.
"The difficulty that it had was that it's very difficult for a self-regulatory body such as ours to actually pre-empt and decide in some ways whether a headline or statements that are being made are something that we should be tackling without proper engagement of the complainants.
"And we did say that there were lessons to be learnt from that, absolutely. We just think it's regrettable in some ways that the McCann family didn't actually come to us for us to be able to act on their behalf."

and

http://www.pcc.org.uk/news/newsletter/april/mcanns.html

The PCC, of course, does more than just deal with accuracy complaints. Indeed, it was notable that the McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said the following in a recent radio interview:

“I’m very happy to acknowledge…that the PCC have been very helpful towards Kate and Gerry – they’ve been very pleased with their advice on the more practical aspects of dealing with the press, such as having the constant presence of photographers outside their home and the harassment that was tantamount at times – also the question of privacy for Sean and Amelie, Madeleine’s brother and sister of course, the PCC have been invaluable in assisting and guiding on that”.




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Re: Daily Express editor: PCC 'should have intervened' in McCann story

Post  gillyspot on Thu 12 Jan - 16:58

Snipped From Gerry McCanns evidence at the Culture, Sports & Media Committee in 2009

"Q188 Paul Farrelly: This brings us neatly to press standards. There has been criticism of the Press Complaints Commission that they were not proactive. They stood by and did not invoke their own inquiry. They have said in evidence to us, defending that position, that to have done so would have been an impertinence to the McCanns. Would you have felt it an impertinence to you had the Press Complaints Commission in respect of press standards been more proactive and said, "Hold on, this is not the way a responsible press behaves"?

Mr McCann: No, I would not have found it impertinent. I certainly would have been open to dialogue if it was felt to be within the remit of the PCC. Having also read their evidence, they are claiming it is not within their remit. Aspects with the PCC have been helpful in terms of protecting privacy particularly for our twins, which was a major concern for us. They were continuing to be photographed and we wanted that stopped. Very quickly that was taken up by the press and broadcasters within the UK. We are thankful for that. There was also help in removing photographers from outside our drive after what we felt was a very over long period, when news had really gone quite quiet and we were still being subjected to camera lenses up against our car with the twins in the back, which was inappropriate. In terms of the defamatory and libellous stories, clearly the advice from both the PCC and our legal advisers was that the PCC was not the route.

Q189 Paul Farrelly: You have described some of the interaction you had with the PCC. Did you consider making an official complaint to the PCC that they were publishing stories about you on the basis of no evidence at all and indeed about Mr Murat as well whose life was also destroyed?

Mr McCann: In terms of the defamatory stories on that specific point, we were advised that legal redress was the way to address that issue.

Q190 Paul Farrelly: You were advised by the PCC?

Mr McCann: I had an informal conversation that was directed to me, yes.

Q191 Paul Farrelly: Can you tell us who you had the conversation with?

Mr McCann: It was with the then chairman, Sir Christopher Meyer.
- Which Meyer denies

Q192 Paul Farrelly: There was no willingness to take up the issues around you therefore as a matter of press standards?

Mr McCann: At the time and on reading their submission, they say it is a very clear division between libel, for which there is legal redress, and when we spoke to Adam for Carter Ruck he also strongly advised us that if we wanted a stop put to it then legal redress was the way to go ." Of course he would he is a Carter-Rucking lawyer.


"they say it is a very clear division between libel" & what?

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmcumeds/uc275-iii/uc27502.htm


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Re: Daily Express editor: PCC 'should have intervened' in McCann story

Post  Panda on Thu 12 Jan - 19:36

Clarence Mitchell has just appeared on Channel 4 in response to Desmonds claim the McCanns waited 4 months before suing the Express and that they chose the most expensive Lawyers in Carter Ruck.

CM, in his usual huffing and puffing said ,of course the McCanns were very busy but were appalled at the rubbish printed every day in the DE and could take no more. There was a Guy sitting next to him who was telling the Interviewer what went on at the Hearing. Desmond comes across as a complets
ar**hole, says he will never buy another Newspaper . The Woman interviewer didn"t exactly believe CM but he blustered his way through so she said nothing.

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Re: Daily Express editor: PCC 'should have intervened' in McCann story

Post  Panda on Thu 12 Jan - 19:53

Desmond: 'Did Everything' To Get Madeleine Facts



















Richard Desmond owns the Daily Express and the Daily Star





6:29pm UK, Thursday January 12, 2012





The owner of the Daily Express and Daily Star has told the
Leveson Inquiry into press standards that his papers did "everything
reasonable" to get the facts on the Madeleine McCann story.



Richard Desmondinsisted
the McCanns had been "quite happy" to have articles about their missing
daughter in his newspapers, until they instructed a new team of lawyers
who were working on a contingency.


"We ran (the story) for four months and it took them a long time to get involved in a legal dispute with us," he said.


However, he was interrupted in his explanation by the lawyer for the
inquiry, Robery Jay QC, who said: "Mr Desmond I am going to interrupt
you.


"That is a grotesque characterisation.


"Your paper was accusing the McCanns of having killed their daughter.
Are you seriously saying they were sitting there quite happy?"


Mr Desmond replied: "On your suggestion, we ran 102 articles for, you
say, four months and nothing happened until a new firm of lawyers was
instructed on a contingency that they came in to sue us."


He suggested that the Express and Star titles became scapegoats over
the Madeleine story - and that they were the only honest titles because
they apologised and paid damages.


Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, took legal action against
Express Newspapers and in March 2008 received £550,000 in damages paid
to their fund to find their daughter and front-page apologies in the
Star and Express titles.



He also told the inquiry that he had no editorial influence over his media empire.


:: Read more on the Leveson Inquiry

Panda
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Re: Daily Express editor: PCC 'should have intervened' in McCann story

Post  marxman on Thu 12 Jan - 20:31

Panda wrote:Clarence Mitchell has just appeared on Channel 4 in response to Desmonds claim the McCanns waited 4 months before suing the Express and that they chose the most expensive Lawyers in Carter Ruck.

CM, in his usual huffing and puffing said ,of course the McCanns were very busy but were appalled at the rubbish printed every day in the DE and could take no more. There was a Guy sitting next to him who was telling the Interviewer what went on at the Hearing. Desmond comes across as a complets
ar**hole, says he will never buy another Newspaper . The Woman interviewer didn"t exactly believe CM but he blustered his way through so she said nothing.

Hi Panda, seen that ridiculous looking and talking head CM.
He did'nt really convey confidence or honesty in what he
was talking about. I noticed the body language and facial
expressions from the interviewer, total disinterest and mistrust
of what he was yacking about. I think Clarence came over as
a man intoxicated with his own sense of ego.

marxman
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Re: Daily Express editor: PCC 'should have intervened' in McCann story

Post  Panda on Thu 12 Jan - 20:45

marxman wrote:
Panda wrote:Clarence Mitchell has just appeared on Channel 4 in response to Desmonds claim the McCanns waited 4 months before suing the Express and that they chose the most expensive Lawyers in Carter Ruck.

CM, in his usual huffing and puffing said ,of course the McCanns were very busy but were appalled at the rubbish printed every day in the DE and could take no more. There was a Guy sitting next to him who was telling the Interviewer what went on at the Hearing. Desmond comes across as a complets
ar**hole, says he will never buy another Newspaper . The Woman interviewer didn"t exactly believe CM but he blustered his way through so she said nothing.

Hi Panda, seen that ridiculous looking and talking head CM.
He did'nt really convey confidence or honesty in what he
was talking about. I noticed the body language and facial
expressions from the interviewer, total disinterest and mistrust
of what he was yacking about. I think Clarence came over as
a man intoxicated with his own sense of ego.

Hi marxman, yes, I felt she didn"t believe him but he wouldn"t let her get a word in.but anyone with any sense wonders why the McCanns need a spokesman , whatever he tried to excuse, the fact that the McCanns left it for 4 months and changed Lawyers will make people think and maybe now
the McCanns will not get any more support from the Press, Desmond is ruthless .

Panda
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Re: Daily Express editor: PCC 'should have intervened' in McCann story

Post  marxman on Thu 12 Jan - 21:55

Panda wrote:
marxman wrote:
Panda wrote:Clarence Mitchell has just appeared on Channel 4 in response to Desmonds claim the McCanns waited 4 months before suing the Express and that they chose the most expensive Lawyers in Carter Ruck.

CM, in his usual huffing and puffing said ,of course the McCanns were very busy but were appalled at the rubbish printed every day in the DE and could take no more. There was a Guy sitting next to him who was telling the Interviewer what went on at the Hearing. Desmond comes across as a complets
ar**hole, says he will never buy another Newspaper . The Woman interviewer didn"t exactly believe CM but he blustered his way through so she said nothing.

Hi Panda, seen that ridiculous looking and talking head CM.
He did'nt really convey confidence or honesty in what he
was talking about. I noticed the body language and facial
expressions from the interviewer, total disinterest and mistrust
of what he was yacking about. I think Clarence came over as
a man intoxicated with his own sense of ego.

Hi marxman, yes, I felt she didn"t believe him but he wouldn"t let her get a word in.but anyone with any sense wonders why the McCanns need a spokesman , whatever he tried to excuse, the fact that the McCanns left it for 4 months and changed Lawyers will make people think and maybe now
the McCanns will not get any more support from the Press, Desmond is ruthless .

yes indeed, but i think the press was led by the nose, and
by Clarence. It was known by many that due to Portugal's
strict judicial secrecy laws, it would be impossible for Brit
press reporters to get official confirmation for any info that
originated from Portugal. Thereby, making a charge of defamation
indefensible.It seems to me a great sting has occurred upon
certain British media producers, and I think desmond will not
forget or forgive certain players in this con. Hope so.

marxman
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Re: Daily Express editor: PCC 'should have intervened' in McCann story

Post  AnnaEsse on Thu 12 Jan - 22:46

Panda wrote:
marxman wrote:
Panda wrote:Clarence Mitchell has just appeared on Channel 4 in response to Desmonds claim the McCanns waited 4 months before suing the Express and that they chose the most expensive Lawyers in Carter Ruck.

CM, in his usual huffing and puffing said ,of course the McCanns were very busy but were appalled at the rubbish printed every day in the DE and could take no more. There was a Guy sitting next to him who was telling the Interviewer what went on at the Hearing. Desmond comes across as a complets
ar**hole, says he will never buy another Newspaper . The Woman interviewer didn"t exactly believe CM but he blustered his way through so she said nothing.

Hi Panda, seen that ridiculous looking and talking head CM.
He did'nt really convey confidence or honesty in what he
was talking about. I noticed the body language and facial
expressions from the interviewer, total disinterest and mistrust
of what he was yacking about. I think Clarence came over as
a man intoxicated with his own sense of ego.

Hi marxman, yes, I felt she didn"t believe him but he wouldn"t let her get a word in.but anyone with any sense wonders why the McCanns need a spokesman , whatever he tried to excuse, the fact that the McCanns left it for 4 months and changed Lawyers will make people think and maybe now
the McCanns will not get any more support from the Press, Desmond is ruthless .

They waited a year after Amaral's book came out to decide to sue him and four months before suing the Express group! Calculating how much they could get!

_________________________________________________________________________________________________
"You can run on for a long time, Run on for a long time, Run on for a long time, Sooner or later God'll cut you down." (Johnny Cash)

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Re: Daily Express editor: PCC 'should have intervened' in McCann story

Post  kitti on Thu 12 Jan - 23:28

In the beginning the stories were ridiculous ....maddie was sold...etc etc but when they started
Printing about cadaverine it began to worry them so they used the MADDIE WAS SOLD headline to sue the express to suppress anything else coming out.


The express had to prove the headline and they couldn't ...100 plus headlines and the ones they talk about are swinging...maddie sold and GM not maddie dad.....the other 90 plus were probably a bit too near the truth and the mccanns dneeded to bury them, and they did.


If the papers had just stuck to the files and not printed ridiculous headlines then the truth would off come out as I'm sure the papers would off dug deeper into the other things in the files and printed those instead by by doing what they did they have now been prevented from printing ANYTHING from the files or to the point....the truth.

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Re: Daily Express editor: PCC 'should have intervened' in McCann story

Post  gillyspot on Thu 12 Jan - 23:46

kitti wrote:In the beginning the stories were ridiculous ....maddie was sold...etc etc but when they started
Printing about cadaverine it began to worry them so they used the MADDIE WAS SOLD headline to sue the express to suppress anything else coming out.


The express had to prove the headline and they couldn't ...100 plus headlines and the ones they talk about are swinging...maddie sold and GM not maddie dad.....the other 90 plus were probably a bit too near the truth and the mccanns dneeded to bury them, and they did.


If the papers had just stuck to the files and not printed ridiculous headlines then the truth would off come out as I'm sure the papers would off dug deeper into the other things in the files and printed those instead by by doing what they did they have now been prevented from printing ANYTHING from the files or to the point....the truth.

The McCanns & T7 & indeed Robert Murat all got their libel cases in and completed before the case files were released to the media (and sadly for Kate & Gerry to us). This was not a coincidence by any means. That being said I can't see of any evidence of R Murat's involvement in Madeleine's disappearance.


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