Monthly ArchiveSeptember 2007
Media newlight on 10 Sep 2007
On Sunday there were repeated scenes on the television news of the McCann family returning from Portugal to the UK. There were photographers on the back of motorcycles following their car, more photographers waiting at the gate of the airport, long lens images of an empty runway with the caption ‘Live from Midland Airport’. Those pictures somehow reminded me the footages of police chasing O.J. Simpson. When the photographers rushed to the car windows to take more pictures as if it is a prison car leaving the court, I had a terrible feeling. Didn’t they realise there were two children sitting at the back seat? At that moment, those photographers did look like a pack of ‘feral beasts’, who would tear apart anything on their way.
On Manday morning Victoria Derbyshire on BBC Five Live asked the audiences to debate about the media coverage of the missing of Madeleine McCann. It is a timely debate, however, it is so easy to slip into a ‘which side are you on’ kind of arguement that is purely based on speculations. The debate was stopped when more than half of the responding audiences said they didn’t want to hear it anymore. It is curious BBC would stop a programme or a debate because some audiences don’t like it based on moral ground. I still believe it’s a worthy topic, perhaps only on the broader issue of the media behaviour in these cases, or perhaps now it’s not the best time. What I don’t want to see, is the BBC, like other media, acted like paparazzi following a celebrity. It’s ture McCann family, with enough resources, have used the media to publicise their search of the missing child (wouldn’t you do anything you can at such situation?), but that doesn’t mean their privacy should not be respected.