The father of disappeared child Madeleine McCann has spoken out about how the media has dealt with his daughter’s disappearance:
Madeleine McCann was treated as a “commodity” by the UK press, her father Gerry has told MPs.
Some reports about the missing girl had been “embellished” or even made up, the culture, media and sport select committee was told.
Papers had, without evidence, published stories suggesting Madeleine was dead, which could have stopped people looking for her, Mr McCann said.
Madeleine, of Rothley, Leicestershire, vanished in Portugal in May 2007.
This happened shortly before her fourth birthday.
Prosecutors initially placed “arguido” – or formal suspect – status on Mr McCann and his wife Kate but this was lifted in July last year when the case was shelved as detectives stopped actively searching for the youngster.
Mr McCann told the MPs: “Although elements of the media coverage have undoubtedly been helpful in the ongoing search for Madeleine, our family have been the focus of some of the most sensationalist, untruthful, irresponsible and damaging reporting in the history of the press.
I think it’s rich that he should accuse the media of treating his daughter as a commodity. What else are they going to do, particularly the tabloids whose entire raisons d’etre are entirely based on sensationalism? It’s also rich that he should accuse them of being irresponsible when he himself sensationalised his and his wife’s audience with the Pope and invited the media to watch. I’m not a fan of the tabloid media, but they are what they are, and McCann seems to have a highly selective memory about how he chose to use them too. And it was his and his wife’s unusual manipulation of them which caused questions about their motives to arise in the first place, which in turn fuelled (incorrectly) the stories which they eventually sued over.