Monday, 25 June 2007

Letter to the Editor of Sky News


Sky News broadcasted a story and published it on its Web Site, at 13:31, Sunday, June 24 2007, with the tittle: “Child Trafficking 'Link' To Missing Girl”

In that story, we can read the following:

“The abduction of Madeleine McCann may be linked to a trafficking network that sees children put on the market for £7,000, detectives have said. Eastern European gangs are holding auctions in supermarket car-parks in Portugal and France. Officers in France have released details of the trade, as they believe it may be related to the four-year-old's disappearance, a Sky source said. In one case, the mother of a baby boy was arrested for attempting to sell her baby North of Lisbon (…)”

This Sky News story is a MANIPULATION OF ONE SINGLE CASE, and it has FACTS THAT ARE FAKE, MISLEADING AND DISTORTED, IN WHAT CONCERNS TO PORTUGAL. What really happened, in the case referred as “the mother of a baby boy that was arrested for attempting to sell her baby North of Lisbon has no relation at all with “Eastern European gangs (…) holding auctions (to sell children) in supermarket car-parks in Portugal (…)”, as described by Sky News.

Because of this lack of relation between reality and what Sky News broadcasted, what happened in Sousel, a small city in Alentejo, can not have any connection “to a trafficking network that sees children put on the market for £7,000 (…)”. For the same reason, that episode also can not be related with Madeleine McCann abduction.

This is what happened, on May 26 and was subject of news, in Diário de Notícias (1), a Portuguese daily newspaper, and all Portuguese Media (2), between May 26 and May 29:

1 - A couple of Romanian gypsies, currently living in Guimarães, North of Portugal, was accused, by local residents of Sousel, a small city in Alentejo, of trying to sell his three months old baby. They knocked at several doors, in Sousel, and asked the residents if they wanted to buy the baby. Cecília Guimarães, a woman of 34 years to whom the Romanian couple first offered the baby, told the mother to give the child to an institution, as “the baby was crying from hunger”. The mother refused and went away.

2 - Cecília Guimarães went immediately to Police and filled a report about the case. She told Diário de Notícias that the mother didn't asked for a specific amount of money, she just wanted to sell the baby. Few minutes after, GNR (Portuguese rural police) detained the Romanian couple. The baby showed signals of being undernourished and dehydrated, so the local “Child Protection Commission” (a Government body with legal authority to act in any situation where a child is in danger) gave orders to GNR to send the baby to Paediatric Section of Portalegre Hospital, where she was recovering well, at May 28.

3 - The parents, 20 and 35 years old, were submitted to a court hearing in the same date. The court decided to send the baby to a Catholic institution, “Lar do Sagrado Coração de Maria”, and a final decision on her destiny will be made after further inquiries, as Diário de Notícias wrote, on May 29

I would like to ask to Mr. Editor of Sky News what does he intend to do, after seeing this evidence that Sky News story is a serious breach of the principles stated in “Section 5” (Due Impartiality and Due Accuracy and Undue Prominence of Views and Opinions) of “The Ofcom Broadcasting Code”, as it is a MANIPULATION OF ONE SINGLE CASE, and ALMOST ALL THE FACTS, in what concerns to Portugal, ARE FAKE, MISLEADING AND DISTORTED?

Looking forward to hear from you,

Paulo Reis

(1) Casal de romenos tenta vender filha de três meses
- Google English translation of the above referred story: “Couple of Rumanians tries to vender (“sell”) son of three months”:

(2) Other media that published the same story, between May 26 and May 29:

Detida pela GNR
Mulher tentava vender filha
007-05-27 - 16:07:00

Em Casa Branca, Portalegre
Detida mulher que tentou vender filha de três meses
27.05.2007 - 14h03 Lusa

Sousel : Jovem romena tentou vender filha
Segunda, 28 Maio 2007

Mulher suspeita de tentar vender a filha
Foi detida no distrito de Portalegre para interrogatório

Tribunal entrega bebé romena a instituição
Terça, 29 Maio 2007

Bebé retirada à mãe depois de tentativa de venda
Tribunal decidiu que a criança vai ser entregue a uma instituição
2007/05/28 20:25T

Bebé retirada à mãe depois de alegada tentativa de venda em Portalegre
28 05 2007 20.41H

Quotes of the day: "A bad messenger plunges men into trouble, but a faithful envoy brings healing.
(The Books of Proverbs, chapter 13, 17)


Anonymous said...

Hi Paul...from a friend in the UK..I support you 100%. SKY and indeed the Entire UK Media Machine have been pathetic during this "event"......I think the PJ and the Portugese Press have been the only reliable source of information during this story.....

Thank you for all the work you have done......

Anonymous said...

I'm from Scotland and can honestly say that I have not for one minute thought that the Portugese police have done anything wrong and have been very professional during the investigation. The British Press seems to have 'adopted' the McCanns and in their eyes they can do no wrong. Why did the British Press not ask the relevant questions to the McCanns about leaving their children alone? Sky news is more like a tabloid newspaper and us Brits don't believe everything everything we read. Keep up the good work and I'm sure the 'mystery' will be unravelled eventually.