Saturday, 23 June 2007

One question to my colleagues David Pilditch and Nick Parker

 My dear colleagues (*):

You both talked with Mr. António Toscano, the alleged “investigative journalist” who claimed he knew the name of the kidnapper of Madeleine but never told it to the Police, until now. Mr. Toscano told to you that he has been very successful in finding missing children, and I quote:

- “Last night, the journalist — who has cracked 14 missing children cases — offered his services free to Maddie’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann.” - Nick Parker, from The Sun;

- “Toscano is a former Spanish TV reporter who specialises in child abduction cases. His claims were first published last week in respected Spanish daily newspaper El Mundo. He said: “I have been successful in 14 of 15 cases I have investigated. Unfortunately in the 15th case the girl was found dead.” - David Pilditch, from Daily Express;

My question is: did you asked Mr. Toscano for the contacts of family members of four or five of those children, just to check if his claim was real?

The reason for my question is that I don't see, in the stories you wrote, any evidence supporting this claim of Mr.Toscano. I've been a journalist for 25 years. I learned how to be a journalist in the “old school style”. There was no university courses in Journalism, in Portugal, at that time. We, young trainees, started with simple things (one of the first I did was writing the horoscope for that week...) followed the advice of our seniors and were “brainwashed”, every day, with basic rules. One of them was: check everything, always, at least, with two different sources.

Of course, it could be the case that Mr. Toscano gave you so strong and reliable evidence of his success in finding missing children that you considered enough to justify the publication of his claims. But if it was the case, why didn't you shared that information with your readers?

Best Regards,

Paulo Reis

(*) I hope you don't mind I use this friendly word - “colleagues” - as we are all journalists, and may be I'm older than both of you (I was born in 1957...)

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