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Ofcom answer to Channel four complaints.

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Ofcom answer to Channel four complaints.

Post by vee8 on Sat Jun 20, 2009 4:06 am

As you all know, our friend bennett did his level best to get the Channel four 'Cutting Edge' documentary pulled, and when he failed he encouraged the 3p's to complain to Ofcom. This is Ofcom's answer!

Ofcom received a number of coomplaints about the programme which related to a number of points. Principally complainants considered that the programme
was misleading and only gave Kate and Gerry McCann's perspective on the
disappearance of their daughter and did not acknowledge or include other
theories for her disappearance. In particular complainants considered that:

a) the programme was bias in favour of the theory that Madeleine McCann
was abducted ("the abduction theory")

b) it was wrong for viewers to be directed to the "Find Madeleine"
website,thereby being invited to contribute to the Madeleine McCann
campaign

c) the programme focussed on the abduction theory,when the Portuguese
police have stared that there is not any evidence to support the theory that
Madeleine McCann was abducted

d) it was misleading for the programme to suggest that the man seen by Jane
Tanner and the Smith family were the same man. For example, some
complainants felt that the programme suggested that the two sightings were of
the same man in the same clothes. Whereas, int he complainant's opinion
nothing connects these sightings,and the descriptions actually differ

e) with regard to the sighting by the Smith family the theory that the man
carrying Madeleine may have been Gerry McCann has not been ruled out by
the police as was stated in the programme and

f) the so-called "ugly man" that was the focus of the reconstruction in the
programme had been identified by the Portuguese police,his name being
Michael Anthony Green

With regards to a) it should be noted that ofcom does not regulate the
accuracy as such of programmes outside of news. Furthermore under section
5 of the code ofcom can only consider complaints concerning bias or "due
impartiality" outside of news in: matters of political or industrial controversy
and matters relating to current public policy". Ofcom considered that the
impartiality rules of the code were not engaged due to the nature of the subject matter of this programme. As a consequence, ofcom cannot consider
any complaint that the programme was bias.

With regards to b) ofcom noted that during the programme there was a brief
visual shot of a webpage that showed pictures of Madeleine McCann and
listed an email address linked to the Find Madeleine campaign. However,
Ofcom also noted that no reference was made to this webpage in the
programme commentary and there was no reference either in the webpage
featured or anywhere else within the programme that could be reasonably
interpreted as soliciting of funds for the Madeleine McCann campaign. Ofcom therefore considered that the featured webpage presented no issue under the code.

However in regard to the programme generall and in particular points c)-f) we
asked channel 4 for its comments under rule 2.2. of the code which states
that: Factual programmes or items or portrayals of factual matters must not
materially mislead the audience"

In its response channel 4 said that the programme was "an observational
documentary which looked at how..Kate and Gerry McCann two years after the even were having to continue with as normal a life as possible for the
sake of Madeleine's siblings whilst pursuing their campaign to find her". The
broadcaster considered that the programme complied with rule 2.2 and in
relation to the specific points c)-f) above, channel 4 made a number of points

c) channel 4 refuted the suggestion made by some complainants that the
portuguese police have stated that there is no evidence to support the
abduction theory pointing to the fact that the portuguese police had stated in
their final report dated 20 june 2008 (the "Final Police Report"), that:

"The hypotheses (of abduction) were considered in the double notion of the
illicit of abduction (if that happened) that could have occurred due to feelings
of revenge byy the kidnapper(s) towards the parents (intended abduction) or
by taking merely the opportunity of the child being at a vulnerable situation
(opportunity abduction)"

Furthermore the broadcaster pointed to the fact that the portuguese district
attorney, Jose de Magalhaes e Menezes,in his summary report (the "District
Attorney's Report") ruled out Kate and Gerry McCann's involvement in their
daughter's disappearance. In addition, Portugal's Attorney General, Fernando
Jose Pinto Menteiro, said in a statement when lifting Kate and Gerry
McCann's "arguido status in July 2008 that he had ordered the police
investigation to be shelved, following magistrates deciding to close the
investigation file:
"Due to lack of evidence that any crime was committed by the
persons placed under formal investigation"

d) Channel 4 said that the programme made clear that: "the sightings (by
Jane Tanner and Martin Smith) were very similar in nature, but not identical".

The broadcaster pointed to the various statements in the portuguese police
files made by Jane Tanner and Martin Smith, which outlined that both the men
these witnesses saw, wore similar clothing. Channel 4 said that: "It was
entirely reasonable and accurate to portray each man who was seen in
clothing that accorded with each witness statement, accompanied by
narration that highlighted the similarities but did not mislead viewers into
thinking the sightings were definitely of the same man. Where any
consistencies (should this read inconsistences??) in the statements did exist,care was taken to ensure they were
reflected in the portrayal in the programme. For example the man's hair was
tucked into his collar where (Martin) Smith said it was shorter than that on the
man seen by Jane Tanner"

e) Concerning Martin Smith's allegation that hte man he saw might be Gerry
McCann the broadcaster pointed to the Final Police Report which dismissed
this theory saying that:
"Some time later the witness (Martin Smith) alleged that, by its
stance the individual who carried the child could be Gerald McCann..It was
established that at the time that was being mentioned Gerald McCann was
sitting at the table in the Tapas Restaraunt".

In addition Channel 4 added tha the District Attorney's Report had stated that
there was no evidence to link Kate and Gerry McCann to their daughter's
disappearance.

f) Concerning the allegation tha the so-called "Ugly Man" was Michael Anthony
Green Channel 4 pointed out that Mr Green had been ruled out of the
investigation because he had an alibi that he was in Lisbon at the time caring
for his ill son. The broadcaster added that the12 year old girl who saw the
man portrayed in the reconstruction had additionally been shown a picture of
Mr Green at the time, when he had a beard. Channel 4 said that this witness
had: "confirmed Green was not the man she saw. Therefore the
reconstruction correctly, and accurately, portrayed her sighting of a clean
shaven man, one who, to this day, remains unidentified".

Ofcom noted that this programme was not an investigative documentary
looking into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Rather the programme
could be considered as a "human interest" documentary, which followed Kate
and Gerry McCann as they approached the second anniversary of their
daughter's disappearance. The programme showed Gerry McCann and the
investigators engaged by the McCanns, returning to Praia de Luz to
reconstruct key sightings described by witnesses. The programme also
showed the McCanns travelling to the USA to appear on The Oprah Winfrey
Show as well as visiting a child recovery expert.

In arriving at its decision Ofcome has exercised its duties in a way which is
compatible with article 10 of the european convention of human rights, Article
10 provides for the right of freedom of expression, which encompasses the
right to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without
interference by public authority. Applied to broadcasting, Article 10 therefore
protects the broadcaster's right to transmit material as well as the audience's
right to receive it as long as the broadcaster ensures compliance with the
rules of the code and the requirements of statutory and common law.

Furthermore in considering the complaints under rule 2.2. ofcom is reuqired to
guard against the actual or potential harm or offence, which may result from
misleading material in relation to the representation of factual issues. Whether
a programme is "materially" misleading depends on a number of factors such
as context, the editorial approach taken in the programme and above all what the potential effect could be.

Ofcom recognised that the disappearance of Madeleine McCann remains a
controversial subject which can divide people concerning the possible
theories surrounding Madeleine's disappearance. However as mentioned
above the requirement to maintain due impartiality and include different
viewpoints on a subject, only arises in non-news programmes, if a programme
is discussing a matter of political or industrial controversy or a matter relating
to current policy, which was not the case in this programme. Just because a
subject elicits strong reactions and differences of opinion does not mean
thebroadcaster has to include all possible perspectives on the subject.

Therefore, broadcasters are free to include any material they wish in a
programme, as long as they comply with the Code. In particular, certain
theories on a given subject can be explored so long as they are not so
materially misleading as to cause harm and offence.

Much of this programme focused on the Mccann's continuing efforts to look for
their daughter, on the basis that Madeleine was abducted, and in particular
the McCann's belief that the sightings of potential abductors by Jane Tanner
and Martin Smith might be linked. For example, the programme
commentary said
"In the files Kate believes another witness statement from an Irish
family describes a very similar sighting to Janes"

Ofcom noted that: the programme referred to a possible link between the two
different sightings; the programme commentary did not state that the two
sightings were categorically linked, but rather were similar; and the actors
used in the reconstructions tailed with the descriptions from the original
witness police statements. Furthermore, we noted that the abduction theory
had not been dismissed by police as some complainants had maintained.

Rather, we noted that the case remains unsolved, as the District Attorneys
Report concluded:
"We do not therefore have any grounds whatsoever for saying, wiht
thenecessary degree of certainty exactly what crime(s) may have been
committed against Madeleine McCann".

We also noted tha the Mcann's were no longer official suspects ("arguidos"),
and that the Portuguese police had not identified the so-called "Ugly Man" as
Michael Anthony Green or anyone else.

Given all of the above and that this programme was a serious documentary
that gave context and sufficient qualifications to any theories it was
espousing, ofcom considered that the programme coverage of the McCanns
generally, and the various issues surrounding the abduction theory in particular, did not materially mislead the audience so as to case harm and offence. As a consequence, the programme was not in breach of rule 2.2.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for raising this issue with us and for taking the time to contact us with your concerns.

Yours sincerely
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Re: Ofcom answer to Channel four complaints.

Post by christabel on Sat Jun 20, 2009 5:21 am

Laffin Laffin Neh mind aye!
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Re: Ofcom answer to Channel four complaints.

Post by Rosie on Sat Jun 20, 2009 5:25 am

In short, this is exactly what we have been telling the blather head antis for two years!

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Re: Ofcom answer to Channel four complaints.

Post by rosemary on Sat Jun 20, 2009 5:35 am

clapping

YES!!!!

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Re: Ofcom answer to Channel four complaints.

Post by clairesy on Sat Jun 20, 2009 6:47 am

oh well back to the drawing board for them then???

im not sure what is some find so fascinating in trying to condemn this family.Are they content in knowing they are trying to destroy them? In my opinion if they feel the mccanns are guilty then as i have said before many times,they have no more to add to this case because as we all know they have been cleared of any involvement in Madeleine's abduction.Therefore the argument that they are guilty is now dated and needs to placed into the bin along with all the smears and leaks by certain member/s of the pj. The investigation is in the capable hands of those who are genuinely looking for madeleine, and not in the hands of those who have quite frankly failed to prove they are anything but incapable of investigating a missing child case!

YES ROSIE YOUR RIGHT Laffin
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Re: Ofcom answer to Channel four complaints.

Post by vee8 on Sat Jun 20, 2009 7:19 am

In other words, ofcom told bennett and the 3p's to go forth in short, jerky movements!
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Re: Ofcom answer to Channel four complaints.

Post by christabel on Sat Jun 20, 2009 7:26 am

vee8 wrote:In other words, ofcom told bennett and the 3p's to go forth in short, jerky movements!

Why has he got a puncture in his bike? bellylaugh



Yes, Rosie, you are right, .

Jailfor5Arguidos
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Re: Ofcom answer to Channel four complaints.

Post by clairesy on Sat Jun 20, 2009 7:29 am

christabel wrote:
vee8 wrote:In other words, ofcom told bennett and the 3p's to go forth in short, jerky movements!

Why has he got a puncture in his bike? bellylaugh



Yes, Rosie, you are right, .

Jailfor5Arguidos



Pmsl pull the other one!!! Laffin Laffin

YES ROSIE YOU ARE RIGHT Laffin
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Re: Ofcom answer to Channel four complaints.

Post by Tinkerbell43 on Sat Jun 20, 2009 7:39 am

So many words when just 2 would have done lol!
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Re: Ofcom answer to Channel four complaints.

Post by dianeh on Sun Jun 21, 2009 11:17 am

All I have to say to those that complained about the documentary.

Welcome to the REAL world.
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Re: Ofcom answer to Channel four complaints.

Post by Rosie on Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:12 am

Tinkerbell43 wrote:So many words when just 2 would have done lol!

Er what would they be Tinks? Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

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"RICARDO PAIVA SHOULD RESIGN, HIS POSITION IS UNTENABLE - IF HE DOES NOT RESIGN, THEN SACK HIM!
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