October 13, 2008 at 6:36 pm (Madeleine McCann)

I have recently completed a dissertation focusing on the British broadcast media coverage of the Madeleine McCann investigation. Below is the abstract outlining what the research focuses on. For more information please contact me at


Did xenophobia distort the ethics of British broadcast journalism?


The coverage of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann took over the news agenda in May, 2007. The media circus that followed left a question mark over the current state of British journalism. Since 24-hour news channels emerged, the media has changed significantly, yet few people realise what a major impact it has on everyday life.

The dissertation offers a detailed examination of what happened when the news teams descended on Praia da Luz in Portugal, a country previously outside the grasp of ‘rolling’ news. It investigates how 24-hour news channels covered the Madeleine McCann story from the night of the 3-year-old’s disappearance until July 2008, when the case was shelved by the Portuguese authorities. Through interviewing English and Portuguese journalists who worked in the Algarve and experts in the broadcast industry, the investigation attempts to uncover the reality of how news was reported from Portugal.

The disappearance of a little girl has exposed very worrying trends in television news: a willingness to distort events to create a real life drama, an ability to mislead the public en masse and the failure to deliver accurate news, despite having extensive resources in place.



  1. ukveiwer said,

    to be honest you cant believe any thing thats written in the papers,having seen the pj files on the internet you only have to look at the madeleine mccann case to see that.

  2. hermione said,

    I haven’t read a newspaper for 16 months due to the british papers lies and distortions over the maddie mccann case. So much for british journalism.

  3. Jean Ellis said,

    Our british system as broken down in many many areas. What we thought was reality is no longer, or so it seems. Innocent until proven Guilty beyond reasonable doubt based on a fair trial, Is what our system as come to know.
    But it seems Money can Buy Top Lawyers who can avoid one getting to a court room to answer all.Our british police are still the best in the world, IF left to do their jobs with no interference.

  4. Horsie said,

    I too have been astonished by the inaccurate news reporting in this case.
    I no longer buy newspapers and will never do so again.
    I also agree with the points made by Jean Ellis above.

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