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Avoiding intrusion

Kevin Bakhurst Kevin Bakhurst | 16:48 UK time, Thursday, 10 May 2007

There's no doubt in a week of major news stories, that Madeleine McCann has captured the thoughts and hopes of the British public and there's a real desire for the latest updates. I thought it may be interesting and useful for the audience to have an insight into the decisions on coverage and the arrangements on the ground.

BBC News 24 logoNews 24's Jane Hill has been in the Algarve since Saturday morning as part of a sizeable BBC team and we have strived to try to get the tone right as well as the amount of coverage. Both in the Algarve and here in the UK, we have liaised closely with Madeleine's family and the British authorities on the wishes of the family and the facts and tone of the reporting. Early on, both ITV and Sky joined an informal pool operation in the Algarve around the family where we only showed Madeleine's parents and family by consent so as to try to avoid intrusion. The BBC helped to organise the televised statement by Mrs McCann which was pooled to British and Portuguese TV stations. Even in these difficult circumstances, the McCann's know that publicity for Madeleine is important as the search goes on.

We have called Madeleine by her full name (not Maddy), at the request of the family because it is what they call her. We passed on the accurate details of Madeleine's pyjamas, at the family's request, correcting the police's initial description. For several days there were many developments that we reported as they unfolded and large audiences watched News 24 over the Bank Holiday weekend, concerned for Madeleine. For the last couple of days, there have been fewer concrete developments (at time of writing) and the temptation for some seems to have been to report unsubstantiated rumours of which there are many to try to keep the story going - particularly when there is self-evidently high audience interest in the story itself. We have looked into many of these rumours on the ground and that is all they have so far turned out to be.

We all sincerely hope that there is a positive outcome for Madeleine and the McCanns and we will continue to try to provide the high volume of coverage and updates that the audience obviously wants, whilst respecting the family's privacy and needs and whilst striving to separate real developments from rumours.

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 05:40 PM on 10 May 2007,
  • k folan wrote:

Dear news reporters

Please explain something to me. As a mother of three children I pray everyday as I'm sure the rest of the country do that this child is returned to her parents alive and well. However there is a mass blockage of condemnation in all of the media in this country on the simple fact that Madeline was left on her own. Is this simply due to the fact that it may be deemed inapprpprate due to the sufferening they are going through now? Still this has never stopped the media speaking out before. If this were a lower class couple the press would be over it like a hot rash. Has it escaped everyone's notice that this 'oversight' in parenting can actually lead to prosecution for neglect. I just don't get it. Much has been made of the fact that they were a "short distance away" and the word s "were checked on regulary" just don't cut it for me.Not good enough! Blogs on internet sites are giving a much more realistic reaction to the people of this country than newspapers and news channels. The Times dared to go a little step further with an article "Would you leave your child alone" and gave a range of "senarios. Still not one channel in the space of a week has commented on this outrageous decision to go and have Tapas, not pay for childcare and leave three children alone for half hour intervals. What if a fire broke out? Some more realistic reactions to the parents please.

Karis Folan Hertfordshire

  • 2.
  • At 05:46 PM on 10 May 2007,
  • Bedd Gelert wrote:

Sorry, but I think you have got the balance wrong here and gone totally over the top. The excitement in the voices of the presenters handling this story is a betrayal of good journalistic standards.

Two things sprang to my mind. The story on 'Drop the Dead Donkey' referring to a 'boy in the well' drama as being just what was required to keep viewers on the edge of their seats, and thus boost the ratings [and in their fictional case, the advertising].

The other is that Don Henley song 'Dirty Laundry' which contains the classic line - 'She can tell you about a plane crash with a gleam in her eyes'.

The carpet bombing coverage has also excluded far more important stories.

Get a grip on reality.

  • 3.
  • At 06:05 PM on 10 May 2007,
  • Ralph Spurrier wrote:

This is all very disingenous, giving the impression that you are actively "helping" the distraught family. In fact, what you are doing is "creating" your own news by having reporters camped out in the town, scouring the local area with your cameras as you aimlessly follow police and volunteers around. Firstly,what on earth do you need to send Jane Hill to the Algarve for in the first place? She has aded precisely nothing to the sum of inforrmation and saw fit to criticise the Portugese police. Understandably the police have become more than a little miffed with the media circus. Now, for heaven's sake, Sarah Campbell - she of the school meals and pets on Breakfast - is being seconded to the beach party. The term "media vampires" comes to mind.

  • 4.
  • At 07:12 PM on 10 May 2007,
  • Richard.Turner wrote:

Why not get people around Portugal and Spain etc etc to take pics with their mobile phones and send them to a place where they can be studied of suspects with a look a like child ...it nay be helpfull// and could it be put on the crimestoppers and phone number where to text these ??? many thanks

  • 5.
  • At 10:09 PM on 10 May 2007,
  • Dee John wrote:

I was very disappointed tonight to see the BBC filming Mrs Mc Cann while she prayed in Church, in Portugal. I don't need to see the poor woman being hounded by the TV crews.Hasn't she enough to cope with.

I know you've got to fill 24 hrs but that is cruel.Do something useful like keeping the spotlight on the Police.Please!

  • 6.
  • At 02:25 AM on 11 May 2007,
  • Darren Marshall wrote:

I would like to ask why it has not been flagged up that the little girl missing in Portugal was left in an apartment by her parents without adult supervision apart from "frequent visits" by her parents. Whilst they were out enjoying themselves. Am I the only person to think that the parents are to blame for leaving their children alone.I feel for their suffering but think they are partly to blame

  • 7.
  • At 08:11 AM on 11 May 2007,
  • Dukhinda wrote:

Madeleine's disappearance has been a tragic and traumatic experience to her dear parents, mainly because it happened in a foreign country.

As the BBC mentions we too are sad and have been watching the news items with great concern.

My humble opinion is that the media's comments about the Portuguese Police being silent and inefficient is unfair. They are governed by the laws of that country and have to work within the frame work of those legislations.

In this instance the media can help more by leaving undue criticisms aside and giving the parents and the Police more space and time.

Thank you

  • 8.
  • At 10:47 AM on 11 May 2007,
  • Keith wrote:

Your phrase "...as part of a sizeable BBC team..." says it all, I'm afraid.

It takes only one person to give us brief daily updates on what's happening. Sadly it seems that this story has become another "sexy" assignment.

  • 9.
  • At 10:56 AM on 11 May 2007,
  • Alice wrote:

To the people who are criticising the McCanns for leaving their children alone:
Yes, it was clearly an unwise decision; but can you even imagine the guilt they must be going through right now? What an unbelievably unhelpful thing to say. Perhaps when Madeleine has been returned safely to her family then questions may be asked about her being left alone. Furthermore, the idea that "they deserved it" that I have seen in a couple of these posts is a thoroughly foul thing to imply. If they were being stalked by a paedophile, then there probably was not an enormous amount they could have done to stop it. She might have been snatched on the beach, in a playarea, whatever. I don't know how many of you are parents, but you cannot watch children twenty four hours a day. You have to turn your back at some point. And if the worst happened in those few moments your back was turned, you would torture yourself forever.
Ok, so maybe they made a mistake. But how much do they have to pay for it? They're missing a child. Isn't that punishment enough?

  • 10.
  • At 11:36 AM on 11 May 2007,
  • Kate wrote:

I too find the BBC's lack of comment about the parents leaving their children alone astonishing.
In all the conversations I have had about this case, it is the only part of it people are talking about and the only part the media haven't really covered other than a brief comment here and there.
The reverential way the family are being treated is quite odd. I am drawn to wonder if it would be the same if a working class black kid had been abducted in the same cicumstances. I doubt it would be and that is shameful.

  • 11.
  • At 12:29 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Allan Evans wrote:

As a parent of four children, I totally agree with the comments regarding the initial neglect by the two parents. I think it outrageous to leave a young child (let alone three) unattended whilst enjoying a social evening with friends. Any restaurant is too far away from a sleeping child. Any of the children could have woken up and suffered an accident; there could have been a fire in the apartment; the apartment could have been burgled (it appears that it was).

I am amazed that all Media reports, including "Experts" on the Trevor McDonald TV programme this week, have neglected to mention this. The parents' behaviour leaves much to be desired - they should be ashamed of themselves. Meanwhile................we hope and pray for a happy outcome to this tragic story.

  • 12.
  • At 12:36 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Tim wrote:

People have to remember when they take very small children abroad that when something bad happens, it brings in to sharp contrast how much we take for granted in the UK, such as a fully trained and equipped national team of police etc. Everything seems fine until you realise the local laws are there to protect the accused and as such actively make it more difficult to find this poor child.

As for leaving these very young children on their own... I wouldn't do it in my home never mind in a foreign country in holiday resort where you're very likely to have people who break into apartments ont he off-chance of finding valuables, or as it may well be in this case, a paedophile that's been planning to take a child.

But like I say that's just my opinion.

  • 13.
  • At 12:39 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • David Ewen wrote:

The last thing Madeline's parents need right now are a bunch of people sitting on the sidelines and hating on them for leaving their daughter alone. It's obvious their children are very loved and well cared for, and no-one could have reasonably forseen this vicous and unspeakably cruel crime. Also, the comments made comparing the approach if the family were working class or black are pure conjecture, and say far more about the writers of these comments than they do about the media or the general public. If you are a parent you should recognise that no parent is perfect and give these poor people your support rather than slagging them off. Shame on you. Would you say it to their faces? If not, don't post it on the web.

  • 14.
  • At 12:42 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Jodie Raper wrote:

Some of the comments here show a disgusting lack of compassion for the McCanns.

Why is it that in these horrific cases, the finger of blame automatically points at the parents rather than the wrongdoer themselves?

It seems to be a typical reaction to cases like these for people to say "How sad...but I wouldn't leave my child unattended", as a kind of defence mechanism to convince themselves that it could never happen to them because to know that this could/can happen anywhere, to anyone and at any time is too awful to contemplate for most parents.

In my eyes, the McCanns have in no way been neglectful - they have just been terribly, terribly unlucky.

  • 15.
  • At 12:43 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Frankie wrote:

my main concern would be the xenophobic reporting about the supposed failings of the police in Portugal.

  • 16.
  • At 12:47 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Audrey wrote:

I agree that the children should not have been left alone, but I don't believe that should be the issue right now. Surely all the reporting should be in a positive manner in order to try and get this beautiful little girl home to her family. I feel that only then can it be question why on earth they were left alone.

  • 17.
  • At 12:52 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • J Keeling wrote:

I am saddened, but not surprised, to hear that some people prefer to focus on the fact that little Madeleine was left for some time by her parents, and so "they are partly to blame".

I am 100% sure that the McCanns know they made a mistake in leaving the kids in this manner, and this realisation is probably making this horrific ordeal 10 times worse for them, if that is at all possible.

However, lets get this into perspective - they did not "deserve" to have their little girl abducted!!

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I'm sure all the parenting experts out there who criticise the McCanns always watch their children every second of the day. The focus of blame and criticism should lie in time with whoever the evil being(s) is who is capable of taking an innocent child and destroying a family.

  • 18.
  • At 01:08 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Tim wrote:

Rather that looking around to cast blame and attempting to condemn the parents (as some seem keen to do) for leaving their children alone, perhaps the focus should be on 1.the trauma / guilt that the the parents are undoubtedly experiencing and 2.what drives someone to abduct a child.
If the perpatrators are paedophiles I find it unbelievable that anyone could contemplate abusing a child of this or any age. Just to look at children such as Madeleine and see the trust and innocence in their expressions, and think that someone has the premeditated urge to crush that, is something I cannot comprehend.

Do individuals such as these not feel remorse or guilt? Do they not even contemplate that others may be affected for the rest of their lives and may never escape those feelings.

  • 19.
  • At 01:10 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • John wrote:

Allan Evans says "the parents' behaviour leaves much to be desired - they should be ashamed of themselves".

What the hell does he think the parents are feeling - happy and self-satisfied?

It was a mistake, yes. Fine, let the person who has never ever made a mistake, in childcare, or otherwise, step forward. Most people are lucky enough to get away with their mistake. These parents have not, and they deserve our sympathy.

Finally, if the news coverage means that the child becomes too "hot" for the abductor and is released or found in any other way, thats all to the good. Otherwise the media frenzy is ugly.

  • 20.
  • At 01:14 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Tori wrote:

FAO Mr Bedd Gelert - I fail to see that there is anything more important than getting this little one home safely at the moment, the trauma and sheer terror that precious little girl must be feeling is incomprehensible and the more media coverage provided so that she can be found and brought back to the safety of her family the better solong as this is done in a manner which is respectful to Madeline and her family. It is our duty as adults to protect the innocent so I think it is you sir who needs to get a grip on reality. It disgusts me that you can even try to playdown a tragic event such as this!

  • 21.
  • At 01:17 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • sue mccalmont wrote:

I also wish the family all the best of luck getting there daughter back safe and sound,im a mum of 5 and i couldnt imagine what they are going through,but i do also think the parents were irresponable parents,regardless of how far they were away at the time ,they should of took all 3 chilldren with them, you dont have children to leave them !!

  • 22.
  • At 01:20 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Steve Johnson wrote:

Frankly I find the whole thing fairly vulgar. Yes, it's all very sad, but does the BBC really think the public cares this much about the kidnapping of a complete stranger? Do you think we're sat here every waking hour wringing our hands? Of course not. And the excuse of giving it "exposure" in order to help catch the killer is rubbish. They'll be watching it on Portuguese news in their own language, not BBC World. Still, it's a nice little jolly for the news team.

  • 23.
  • At 01:21 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • sue mccalmont wrote:

I also wish the family all the best of luck getting there daughter back safe and sound,im a mum of 5 and i couldnt imagine what they are going through,but i do also think the parents were irresponable parents,regardless of how far they were away at the time ,they should of took all 3 chilldren with them, you dont have children to leave them !!

  • 24.
  • At 01:22 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • RickB wrote:

Yes BBC, get an interview with that McCann woman, tell her she did the wrong thing, don't stop till she's in tears.

One of the shocking things in this story are the "perfect" parents who rush to condemn and obviously must be sleeping in the same bed as their own children, otherwise how could they "not let them out of sight for even a minute"?

I'm glad the BBC isn't reporting every rumour, there have been far too many.

  • 25.
  • At 01:27 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Sandra lewis wrote:

I totally agree with the fact that the children should not have been left on their own, for whatever reason. Neglet could certainly be an issue, not only that, did they do it on a regular basis???
These people are professional people and certaily are not teenagers, so by definition should have more sense. Clearly not. As one of the comments before, if these people had been of the lower class they wuld heve been jumped on from a great height!!!
This will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

  • 26.
  • At 01:35 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Uberman wrote:

There is a short and rapidly diminishing window of opportunity here to achieve a happy outcome. The debate about whether it was right or not to leave the kids alone in these circumstances is simply for another time but some people just cannot help but put the boot in. As for media vampires, they are a necessary evil here. Publicity is a useful tool the Portuguese seem unable to comprehend (legal restrictions or not). The BBC, while not by any means perfect, is at least conscious of trying to achieve a balance in its journalism, or at least being perceived to (to pander to the more cynical). So make your choices people, put out positive energy to find the girl or negative energy towards the parents. The worst of the media generates hate and fear for people to feed off. Do something positive and go stop them doing it.

  • 27.
  • At 01:40 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Only in such a wierd place as the UK where people have such a paranoid and sexualised attitude to children would you expect criticism of parents leaving their children sleeping in a building 30 yards away in a compound. It might be normal in the UK for children to be abducted but it certainly isn´t in other countries.

  • 28.
  • At 01:48 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Doc M wrote:

This case is very sad, but is not exactly a major disaster for anyone but the family. It is being ridiculously over-hyped. The media need to back off.

  • 29.
  • At 01:53 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Rich wrote:

Whilst I concur with the comments regarding the irresponsibility of leaving three children unattended in order, ultimately, to have a night out and save on childcare costs, I doubt that any legal sanction enacted against these parents could be worse than losing one of their children in such terrible circumstances.

I would even go so far as to really question the humanity of the numerous commentators who believe that the McCanns should have their ordeal compounded by criminal proceedings. Not to mention the effect on the remaining children of not only losing a sister but also of seeing their parents tried and incarcerated.

That said, I agree wholeheartedly with the comments about the coverage of this story and the news values these cases always inevitably demonstrate. Were the child from a single-parent family in a run-down part of inner-city Britain I suspect it would barely warrant a mention. It's not the first time this point has been made in such a context - that a victim's media value should not depend on how idyllic their family backround happens to be or whether a sufficiently photogenic image of them exists for reproduction by various media outlets.

And I can't help but fear that as with any child abduction story, this sort of saturation coverage is merely further perpetuating the widely-held myth that such occurences are commonplace, that all children must be constantly monitored, supervised and bubble-wrapped to protect them from the paedophiles that lurk in every shadow. I'm pleased to see that at least BBC News has not yet descended into red-top hysteria in its coverage of this item.

  • 30.
  • At 02:07 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Griffy wrote:

I honestly can not understand most of the people posting on here. Their simple view seems to be lets get stuck into the parents its their "fault". No it isnt, its the sick monster(s) who have abducted this little girl. There is an almost gloating satisfaction that a white middle class couple on holiday have had their child abducted and are in a living nightmare coupled with a wildly imiganitive supposition that if they were from an ethnic minority or "working class" this would not be news.

This holier than thou "I'm a perfect parent they arent", lets give them a good kicking while they're down attitued really does sicken me. That people can be so judgemental and spiteful is a sad reflection on these posters

  • 31.
  • At 02:09 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • ToddA wrote:

I must say the majority of these comments are spot on. This is clearly a great time of great stress for this family and the media should get out and leave them alone to deal with it and the police to do their work. Your obsession with filling your pages and air time with pictures of 'the little white baby stolen in a foreign country' are both appalling and unhelpful to everyone except you and your audience ratings. Second, it is entirely clear that these parents behaved irresponsibly and possibly criminally so. That is a matter the police should raise in due course because yes, even the wealthy of our society should be prosecuted for criminal behavior. However, it is also clearly not the time to be dwelling on that in the media. This should be buried-in-the-back news in a world of much greater problems affecting entire societies and, indeed, our entire world. Please, stop the pandering.

  • 32.
  • At 02:11 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Lucy Jones wrote:

I agree with other posters that you may think you are being fair, but the blanket coverage is wearing thin. Do we really need to hear "No news here, Bill, how about you, Kate?" "No news here, Dave, how about you, Bill?" more than once a day?

You know the saying "Familiarity breeds contempt"? Well, telling us the same nothingness over and over again breeds contempt. Criticising the Portuguese police for not giving you information smacks of sour grapes. Please behave less like The Sun and more like a respected British institution.

  • 33.
  • At 02:11 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Elisabeth wrote:

what I don't understand is why more details aren't being released of the suspects and their car. Surely people (esp. petrol stations) could be told to watch out for a particular make of car and that registration number? surely if the car is British the police will know who that registration number is assigned to? why can't we see cctv footage and pictures of the suspects? how else are they going to catch these people?

  • 34.
  • At 02:14 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • S Maguire wrote:

In response to the comments made on the McCann's leaving their children, please think before you go on to say that they have neglected their children.

Long after we have moved on from this horribble time, the McCanns will live with it for the rest of their lives. And I am sure negative comments about them as parents will only act as a catalyst to rembember.

Firstly, bear in mind that people such as paedophiles will be reading comments such as these. You don't need to be a qualified professionl that deals with paedophiles, to know that they may see these comments as a justification for what they do.

Lets think back to cases such as the little girl who was taken out of the bath, whilst her mother was a short distance away. These deviants are on the prowl 24 hours a day. Sleeping in the next bedroom to your child is too far when these conscious damaged people are about.

What we could do is support the McCanns and lead by their example, by behaving with dignity, and a show of strength that is absent for the likes of these damaged people.

Praying for the McCanns will help them more than comments that threaten the obvious strength they have shown to date. Also praying for peace in our own hearts may prevent us from casting judgement on those whose darkest days appear to test their faith, future and dignity.

I am speaking as a mother to two children, and I feel blessed with what I have, but only too aware that evil is ever present.

  • 35.
  • At 02:25 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Frank wrote:

It's all very well for you to list all the "Brownie points" you've got by doing things like not calling the child "Maddy" and - I ask you - passing on the correct description of her pyjamas as if this were some kind of act of heroism rather than absolutely basic ethical behaviour.

But there is absolutely no need to film your reporters supposedly "driving around the country" (i.e. being filmed crawling 20 metres in a hired car) commenting on how they've seen "very little police activity" as if such an observation had any fundamental validity or the reporters had some kind of moral authority to voice such veiled criticisms.

When I started watching BBC News 24, 3 years ago, it was a quality service that reported stories with taste, tact and the crediting of the viewer with some intelligence. Now I grab the headlines and turn over.

The BBC should not even be in a position of having to defend itself with its feeble, patronising self-justification. Actions speak louder than words.

  • 36.
  • At 02:27 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • sweetalkinguy wrote:

This is Soham all over again. A photogenic child gets into bother, and there is mass hysteria in the media. To whom is it of concern other than the parents who abandoned the child to go out? There are more serious child welfare issues deserving of more prominent coverage.

  • 37.
  • At 02:28 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Amanda Gibbins wrote:

To all the perfect parents out there who never make mistakes, fair enough, the McCanns are paying dearly. We should not be pointing fingers at anyone other than the evil person/people who has taken their beautiful little girl from them. Why is this turning into a class issue? I hope and pray that Madeleine is reunited with her loving family.

  • 38.
  • At 02:37 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Mandy Swain wrote:

Those who should be ashamed of themselves are those of you who wish to blame somebody...THESE PEOPLE ARE GOING THROUGH HELL.

Regardless of the whys and wherefores at this time, how can you be so heartless? Have you never made a mistake? In the weeks and months to come, questions will be asked of the parents, but I find it really inappropriate for these unhelpful, cruel comments at this time.

I personally think the news channels have got it just about right....dealing with something so sensitive can never be easy and it seems you cannot win, no matter what you do.

I continue to hope that Madeleine is safe and will be returned to her obviously loving parents soon.

  • 39.
  • At 02:40 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Natalie wrote:

I agree with the articles above with regard to these extremely young children being left alone, it's just not good enough checking every 20 - 30 minutes or so, that is an awfully long time in the world of a 3 year old. If they'd had a baby sitter in the apartment the break in might still well have happened, but the alarm would've been raised much sooner with the ensuing ruction that would've been caused. Incidentally if you check the Mark Warner Ocean View online site in Portugal, not only does it offer baby sitting in the apartment (obviously for an extra charge) it also has a supper club where parents can take their children and leave them with qualifed staff free of charge whilst they have dinner on the complex. In this day and age most of us still remember Jamie Bulger, Ben Needham, Millie Dowler and countless others; to reject the excellent childcare services offered by the Mark Warner resort is sheer insanity. My heart goes out to these parents, I am a parent of 2 young children one of whom is also named Madeleine, and I am sure they are tormenting themselves plenty without anybody needing to add insult to injury. I am also sure they will never leave their 2 remaining children alone in similar situations in the future, but what a horribly cruel lesson they have had to learn.

  • 40.
  • At 02:44 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • maria Barnfather wrote:

I am shocked and outraged by the comments some pepole have made. A familiy has been torn apart within a matter of hours, their little girl is in the hands of someone else.
I am a mother of two and I feel sick at the thought of it.
Please measure your words and think what you are saying.

  • 41.
  • At 02:45 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Simone wrote:

Could anyone tell me if this is being covered by Spanish media? If she was seen close to the border, it is possible that she is in Spain now... it would be very good if people around europe could see her picture and know what is happening. I would do anything to help this family and bring this little girl back home, and I am sure lots of people around the world think in the same way.

  • 42.
  • At 02:50 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Janet wrote:

All parents make mistakes at some time or other. It's easy to say, "I would never have done that", but when I look back at things I've done or not done, and managed to get away with, I feel very lucky that my children are here fit and well.

  • 43.
  • At 02:52 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Judi Brannigan wrote:

Quite a number of the previous comments state that they are 'astonished and amazed' that the coverage of this situation has not mentioned the fact that the kiddies were left on their own.

Well, I think it is a disgrace that you folk can only focus on this. Do you not think that Maddie's parents will realise that this is the biggest mistake they could ever have made in their lives?. There is a time and a place for this and it is most definitely not now. I agree wholeheartedly with all of the comments made by Alice who wrote previously. No-one deserves this. Think of Maddie. Think how terrified that wee girl must be without her mummy and daddy. FIND MADDIE.

  • 44.
  • At 02:53 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Tracie Evans wrote:

I FEEL for the McCanns, i have 2 young girls and live in the U.S whereby everyone is paranoid about Abduction. WHILST i know i wouldnt have left my girls in the room for fear of fire, them awakening and injurying themselves , getting a knife on the kitchen counter, wandering out the door, the endless possibilities. I think these PARENTS were lulled into a false sense of security whilst on "holiday". OTHER families may also have been doing the same thing. THE MCCANNS will pay for it for the rest of their lives, no matter WHAT the outcome of this case. They will blame themselves. I DID a course on "child abuse and Abduction" when i moved to the U.S (after living in a very safe environment) - to make myself more aware and to protect my children in a new Country. LET me tell you ALL something - Abductors and ABUSERS are "professional". They "identify" who they want and they watch and wait until their chance comes. IT CAN HAPPEN ANYTIME , ANY PLACE, ANYWHERE. I hope and pray for Madeleine and i cant get her little face out of my mind.

  • 45.
  • At 03:01 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Rich L wrote:

There has only been one poster thus far who has even considered what this poor child is going through herself.

Terrified, alone, and crying for her mother. It's too dreadful to think about.

Let us pray that she is found - by any means, including the efforts of the BBC. This is not a time for condemnation. Any parent can identify with this.

  • 46.
  • At 03:09 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Eric wrote:

Darren Marshall asked "Am I the only person to think that the parents are to blame for leaving their children alone."
Clearly he isn't, and I for one share his attitude.
And I agree even more with Steve Johnson, who asked "does the BBC really think the public cares this much about the kidnapping of a complete stranger?" This is yet another example of the BBC aping the tabloid press agenda.

  • 47.
  • At 03:10 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Chris Wood wrote:

Yes, it's natural for people to speculate about whether or not Madeleine and her siblings should have been left alone by their parents. Some people will find such an idea abhorrent in equal numbers as others will find it acceptable. However, to infer, rather spitefully, that the parents are somehow excused any 'blame' for this act because of their 'class' is simply preposterous and says far more about the people making such allegations than it does about Madeleine's parents. If there's a penance to pay for leaving their children unattended, believe me, they're paying it now, regardless of their position in the social strata.
As is allowed in a free society, the McCann's made an, albeit retrospectively inadvisable, decision to leave their children partially unattended. That was their free choice and they will surely be rueing that decision for the rest of their lives, irrespective of the outcome of this saga. I, for one, am simply hoping that little Madeleine is found safe and well and am not worrying about castigating her parents for leaving her alone to begin with.

  • 48.
  • At 03:22 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Aiden wrote:

Just a small point but I don't think the parents need anyone blaming them for leaving the children alone at the moment. I should imagine they will be placing enough blame on their own shoulders and it must be unimaginable for them to feel that this is their own fault, which I have no doubt they probably do. In that respect perhaps it is to be commended that our media who usually love a witch hunt have opted not to focus on this aspect and finally let's just hope Madeleine is found safe and well.

  • 49.
  • At 03:48 PM on 11 May 2007,
  • Dawn wrote:

In response to Steve Johnson: this member of the public does care about the kidnapping of a complete stranger and Madeleine is very much on my mind. I do agree, however, that there has to be a balance in the news coverage and that there is a danger of voyeurism. The McCann's suffering should not be there for our entertainment. Let's save our condemnation for the person or people who have committed this terrible act and wish for Madeleine's safe return.

  • 50.
  • At 10:22 PM on 14 May 2007,
  • kathleen wrote:

BBC provided excellent help in the search for Madeleine. Belgian television diffused information for the first time today. French television have not yet reported it.
The word must spread across Europe and beyond if we hope to save this child.

  • 51.
  • At 02:44 AM on 15 May 2007,
  • Matt B wrote:

So it seems that the media is up the wrong gumtree as usual. It isn't an international child smuggling ring that is involved, the portuguese police were not grossly negligent in not sealing off all borders etc.

In fact this is a local crime which has chilling similarities to Soham. The media wanted to see lots of action and have lots to report on so they went to the biggest resevoir of information available to them: their imagination.

What a disgrace, can the media not put their own interests to one side for even one second of one day?

  • 52.
  • At 07:26 AM on 15 May 2007,
  • Nigel wrote:

I suppose its to be expected that the BBC would follow the likes of Sky News in their "tabloid" style of TV journalism - Last night was a typical "feeding frenzy" with the on-going police search of the Murat's villa and the UK media lined up outside. I am sure the media would not have behaved that way if this had happened in the UK, where they would have to show more respect for the local police investigation. Let's hope and pray this has a happy outcome.

  • 53.
  • At 06:37 PM on 16 May 2007,
  • jess wrote:

i cant imagine how the family is feeling!i have a big family with lots of young children and i cant imagine it happenein to me!i feel helpless and desperatly want to no where little maddie is like everybody else so she can be back at home safe and sound back with her family!!deepest sympathy xx

  • 54.
  • At 07:55 PM on 16 May 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

I can personally look at all sides of what has happened and what is happening except the side of the abducter/s (who needs incarcerating for life).
Being a parent of 3 myself
I have made mistakes and being human will probably make more before my life is through.
Her parents are paying now for their mistakes.
I pray for the safe return of little Madeleine.

In hindsight if the following leaflet had have been read then who knows??

http://www.nspcc.org.uk/helpandadvice/publications/leaflets/homealone_pdf_wdf36243.pdf

  • 55.
  • At 10:58 PM on 16 May 2007,
  • Jean Macklin wrote:

Perhaps the time given to covering Madeleine's disappearance should have been shared among all the British children abducted by strangers this year. Do they not count too?

  • 56.
  • At 01:03 AM on 17 May 2007,
  • sabrina mcveigh wrote:

i pray for the safe return of madeline everyday. my thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.
PLEASE WHO EVER HAS HERE RETURN HER SAFE TO HER FAMILY
SABRINA BELFAST

  • 57.
  • At 11:37 PM on 17 May 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

its hard for the family i know, but please stop this, we get the picture. let us know when there has been some progress, not this utter hounding. it hurts me that you are not focusing on the Innocent parentless homeless scared children of the world, let alone one from this country, god bless her. stop being so feeling less, cut them some slack.

  • 58.
  • At 07:52 AM on 25 May 2007,
  • MARIA LUISA wrote:

BBC is doing wright, television must help in the search o Madeleine, all of you can do helping
to find this girl no matter what, we would like to help but we only can pray for her. So you must continue helping please dont abandon her, the parents are paying his mistake, but Madeleine must be founded. God be with her.......maria lUISA

  • 59.
  • At 09:05 AM on 18 Jun 2007,
  • Christine Conlon wrote:

In reply to the comment regarding Mrs. McCann not wearing a head covering when she visited the Pope, I seem to remember that the request for women to cover their heads in the Catholic Church ended in the early 1960s. "Proper Attire" in the Vatican refers to appropriate dress, e,g, no bare arms etc.

  • 60.
  • At 11:30 PM on 12 Aug 2007,
  • J Truscott wrote:

If Madeleine's parents had not enlisted all the help they could get to find her, they would have regretted it in the future.

If she is found through media interest, either by sighting or reward money tip off, then it will have been worthwhile.

It is still worthwhile if one child will been extra-protected in the future.

Both my children were targetted - one by a religious group leader, the other by a stranger driver who tried to persuade one to get in his car.

this problem has always been with us - and thanks to the media, it is now well-known.

  • 61.
  • At 12:32 PM on 12 Sep 2007,
  • julie shaw wrote:

i have followed there story throughout and as a parent of 6 children my little girl being the same age as Madeleine i would never ever leave her alone for 5 minute let alone a few hours there is too many pedophiles about let alone leaving her alone in a strange country, the only thing i can say is that her mother is extremely brave as i wouldnt be able to carry on living if my daughter was in the same situaion as Madeleine constantly thinking where she was and what was happening to her so why is she so brave and not broken down? i just pray that she is returned to her parents safely! and why dont they do a lie detector test on the parents???

  • 62.
  • At 04:39 PM on 27 Sep 2007,
  • philip brown wrote:

The hysterical reporting (of the protests) is just another example of recent changes in editorial style by BBC news. Biased news coverage of 'climate change', over-reporting the sad case of Madeline McCann and the easy ride given to the Blair government reflect the steady decline in objective journalism - with which the BBC built its worldwide reputation.

Burma has long been a 'basket case' economy, (amongst many in the world) so one wonders if the protests initiated by monks arose due to increasingly poor returns from their begging forays, rather than the pursuit of Democracy, as the news media would have you believe.

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