Freitag, 3. Juni 2011

Little victories

Last year I complained to the BBC about the appalling distortion of Goncalo Amarals words in front of the Lisbon court claiming he had said "Fuck the McCanns" while he clearly said in portuguese "Ask the McCanns". This is an excerpt of my complaint:

Although Mr. Amaral refuted the allegations, saying he replied
to your reporter: "Fala com os McCann" which means talk to the McCanns,
you insisted without apology on your beeped interpretation by a reporter who
clearly has not got a word of portuguese. Mr. Amaral does not speak
english and you clearly biased your report (and what a coincidence that
it should have been EAST MIDLANDS) in favour of the McCanns.
At least you should publish the un-beeped version to proof your point.

This was the response I got at that time:

Dear M* ******* Thank you for your e-mail regarding 'East Midlands Today'.

On Tuesday 12 January 2010, BBC 'East Midlands Today' reported former Portuguese
police detective Gonçalo Amaral's comment in response to correspondent Mike
O'Sullivan's question: "Is your book hurting the McCanns".

We believe that we accurately reported his response but having been made aware
of claims that a mistranslation occurred, 'East Midlands Today' asked Mr Amaral
personally to clarify his comment thus covering all sides of this issue and
affording Mr Amaral a full right of reply.

On the programme on Thursday 14 January, correspondent Mike Sullivan in Lisbon
explained that Mr Amaral's lawyer was reportedly denying the four-letter
outburst. To attempt to fully clarify matters, Mr Amaral himself was also asked
directly about the matter and claimed that he had not talked to our reporter,
that he had said "nothing", and also claimed not to know what was being talked

Essentially this is a judgement call rather than an exact science but 'East
Midlands Today' does appreciate the feedback. As we've been made aware that a
complaint surrounding this matter has been lodged with regulator Ofcom, we are
unable to provide any further comment but thank you for your own personal views
on the matter which have been formally noted and logged by the BBC.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.


Michelle Wiggins
BBC Complaints

Only today have I got notice from NP1 about the final ECU Ruling from 30th May:

ECU Ruling: East Midlands Today, BBC1 (East Midlands), 12 January 2011

Publication date: 30 May 2011

The programme included a brief exchange between a reporter and Gonçalo Amaral (a former policeman who had worked on the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and had since written a book on the case). One word in the exchange was bleeped, and the report gave the impression that this was because Sr Amaral had used offensive language about the MrCanns. A viewer complained that this was inaccurate and unfair to Sr Amaral.

The reporter's belief, reinforced by others on the programme team who viewed the recording, was that Sr Amaral had indeed used an English phrase which included an offensive term applied to the McCanns. On further examination, however, it became clear that Sr Amaral had been speaking Portuguese, and that an inoffensive phrase had been misconstrued. Upheld

Further action
The Editor of the programme has discussed the outcome with the producer and reporter involved. In future, the team plans to use interpreters if clips from interviews are unclear.

Little victories like these are soulsoothers.


Edited to add:
It should be noted that the scene in front of Lisbon Court was broadcastet by the McCann's local BBC station one day after Gerry McCann had prematurely returned from Lisbon after some tough questions from one portuguese reporter in front of the court.

To further show the bias of the british media it should be noted that Kate calling a portuguese officer a "fucking tosser" has never reached the headlines.


  1. Was sich die britischen Medien und Behörden gegenüber den portugiesischen Ermittlern erlaubt haben und sich immer noch erlauben, ist allerunterste Schublade. Deshalb ist es gut, dass Johanna die Veranwortlichen mal auf diese mies konstruierte Sprachverdrehung hinweist, die ihr kleiner intriganter Reporter zum Gefallen der McCanns produziert hat. Sr. Amaral wurde eine Äußerung in den Mund gelegt, die er nie getan hat. Problem ist nur, dass diese angebliche Äusserung weithin in den britischen Medien verbreitet wurde und die Klarstellung des "sprachlichen Missverständisses" nicht. Allgemein glaube ich, dass die allgemeine Schwäche Portugals in wirtschaftlicher und politischer Hinsicht ausgenutzt wurde, um dem Fall während der letzten vier Jahre eine bestimmte Richtung zu geben. Möglicherweise gibt es an diesem Wochenende in Portugal einen Regierungswechsel, aber wahrscheinlich wird er wie im UK keine Änderung in der Behandlung des Vermisstenfalles Madeleine McCann bringen...Im Gegenteil, wahrscheinlich gibt es jetzt das "final whitewashing" durch ein paar "Beinahe-Pensionäre" von Scotland Yard.

  2. Johanna:

    muito obrigada pela acção que tomou, principalmente,penso, por não ser portuguesa e ter procurado defender um Cidadão Português.

    Diga-se também que nós portugueses aprendemos Consigo uma bela acção de Cidadania.


  3. Thanky you Cody, Maria and Anna. I am sure many people complained and it was the complaint to Ofcom that finally led to the BBC acknowledging their at best badly researched, at worst deliberate smear.

    We should not think in nationalities, it seems to come down to those that still have a sense for decency and moral values standing up for a concept of a world within which our children can still find their way with the education we have given them. I know a noble thought but one can dream and work for it.

  4. Thank you for those kind words, Johanna. There have been many times since 3 May 2007 that I have been utterly ashamed to be British. I am looking forward to my next visit to your beautiful country at the end of the month, and for a short couple of weeks I can have the illusion that I am German. Forca Amaral and Justice for Maddie!

  5. Bom dia, Johanna:

    tem razão. Não devemos pensar em nacionalidades e , sei que mais fizeram queixa.

    Estão muito certas todas as Suas palavras.

    Mesmo assim, muito obrigada.