Friday, 18 July 2008

U.K Press being first...and getting it wrong

Here's the flipside to the aggressiveness of UK newspapers...and why I don't read them:

Briton wins libel suit in case of missing girl
LONDON: A British suspect in the disappearance of 3-year-old Madeleine McCann in Portugal last year won £600,000 in libel damages Thursday for "the utter destruction" of his life.
The 10 British newspapers involved in the case had accused Robert Murat, who lived in the resort where Madeleine vanished in May 2007, of being involved in the girl's disappearance.
The Portuguese police questioned Murat soon after Madeleine disappeared from her parents' vacation apartment in Praia da Luz and later declared him a formal suspect, but he was never charged and denied any involvement.
"The newspapers in this case brought about the total and utter destruction of mine and my family's life and caused immense distress," Murat said Thursday outside the High Court in London. "I am pleased that the publications concerned admitted the falsity of their allegations and I can now start to rebuild my life."
Murat frequently spoke to reporters in the days after Madeleine disappeared from her bedroom and said she looked like his daughter in England. His mother's house was about 150 meters, or about 500 feet, from the McCann family's apartment.

Murat's lawyer, Louis Charalambous, said that tabloid newspapers in Britain published a series of "made up" allegations. The court heard that these included claims Murat had an interest in child pornography and might have been part of a pedophile ring involved in Madeleine's abduction.
Publishers of the newspapers, with a combined circulation of 15 million copies, apologized, admitted the claims were untrue and agreed to pay the damages. The Daily Mirror, The Daily Mail and The Sun were among those sued.
Charalambous said his client had watched silently as "the worst elements of the British media" destroyed his good name and reputation.
"The behavior of tabloid journalists and their editors has been grossly irresponsible, demonstrating a reckless disregard for truth," he said.
It is the second time that British newspapers have been sued over their coverage of the case.
In March, Gerry and Kate McCann, Madeleine's parents, won £550,000, or $1.1 million, in damages from The Daily Express and The Daily Star over stories suggesting that they might have killed their daughter.

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