Yesterday, TVI denied any bias in broadcasting the documentary that is based on Gonçalo Amaral’s book “Maddie – The Truth of the Lie”, which has temporarily been removed from the market after an injunction was filed by the parents of the English child that went missing in the Algarve.
Margarida Teotónio Pereira, the television station’s international programming director, who was heard as a defence witness during the third injunction trial session, asserted that “TVI tried to buy a documentary in which the McCann couple presented their version” about the disappearance of their daughter, in 2007, in the Algarve.
The channel’s senior official recalled that in April 2009 the station’s then general director, José Eduardo Moniz, “didn’t want TVI to be connected to a documentary that defended Gonçalo Amaral’s thesis”, thus they advanced towards buying the programme “with exclusive and original images”, in which Kate and Gerry McCann reconstituted the facts.
That documentary in which the McCanns intervened, which was produced by British television Channel 4, would allow, as the witness mentioned, to oppose the one that had been produced by Valentim de Carvalho, based on the former Polícia Judiciária inspector’s book, which was broadcast by TVI for the first time on the 13th of April 2009.
Both Margarida Teotónio Pereira and the station’s market studies technician Paulo Gonçalves Soares said that the documentary had been preceded by a written explanation about the existence “of other points of view” about the matter, not binding TVI, at a time when it “was known that another documentary would be available on the international market”.
The channel struck an agreement with the British distributor to buy the Channel 4 documentary, but on the 28th of April, Margarida Teotónio Pereira received an e-mail that confirmed a phone call from a few days earlier, in which the McCann couple impeded the broadcast on the Portuguese channel.
“We wanted to have the opportunity to show another story about a matter that was of major interest and that was very important to TVI, not only because of viewer shares”, she said, stressing that the British couple vetoed the Portuguese channel because they were not satisfied with news that had been broadcast before.
At the judge’s request, the written communication from the distributor, refusing the broadcast, was annexed to the process, because it was deemed important for the channel’s opposition to the McCanns’ argumentation, that the spreading of the thesis of Kate and Gerry’s involvement in their daughter’s disappearance damages the investigations.
The Channel 4 programme ended up being acquired and broadcast by SIC only days later, on prime time, with TVI repeating the broadcast of Gonçalo Amaral’s documentary at the same time, merely for “share reasons”.
Both on the first and the second broadcast, Margarida Teotónio Pereira said that at TVI “the fact that the documentary was broadcast” on a date that preceded the PJ investigation’s archiving dispatch, from the Republic’s prosecutor in Portimão, which was written on the 1st of July of the same year, and notified on the 29th.
That matter was raised by the McCanns’ representative, Isabel Duarte, who is going to file a criminal action against Gonçalo Amaral over breaching the judicial secrecy.
The nest session has been scheduled for the 10th of February, with closing arguments.
In this process, Gonçalo Amaral stands accused of disseminating conclusions that the McCanns consider to be unsustainable, of the little girl’s death in the apartment, simulation of abduction by the parents, and concealment of the cadaver.
source: Lusa/ionline, 15.01.2010