My answer to Greesnlade published on his Guardian' blog, which I've also sent to Dacre via the ECC email
I am a Portuguese independent film-maker and citizen journalist; my blog is at joana-morais.blogspot.com
I have been following the work of the PCC since 2007, specifically upon noticing that the PCC code was not respected by the majority of the UK media tabloids and press. To be exact, upon noticing the PCC failure to regulate in accordance to its own ethical code of journalistic practice, the numerous and systematic xenophobic, racist and insulting attacks that were and still are perpetuated towards the Portuguese people, this country and its judicial system.
This was clearly observable in most of the UK printed and online press articles that reported about a notorious and mediatic missing child case, presumed dead by both Portuguese and UK authorities.
I will just provide two churnalistic «examples» of a myriad that I have read and kept as PDF files for future memory, articles which in my view were a clear infringement of any journalistic deontological code that wishes to be taken seriously.
Daily Mirror columnist, Tony Parsons published an opinion article in October 29, 2007 titled “Oh, Up yours Señor”, it was an extremely bigoted and offensive piece that directed remarks like “shut your stupid sardine-munching mouth” at the current demissionary Portuguese Ambassador Carlos Santana, at Portugal and at the Portuguese people. This opinion article alone resulted in the PCC receiving 485 complaints in that year (see http://www.pcc.org.uk/assets/80/PCC_AnnualReview2007.pdf , page 25).
That article and the subsequent pieces written (more than 48 with similar rabid attacks) by that man, who certainly is no journalist, totally contravened the PCC code, or any other civilized notions of ethics and journalism.
However, instead of adopting any measures to prevent the manipulative call of hatred and discrimination against the Portuguese, the PCC merely stated the following: “The Daily Mirror published an article by Tony Parsons which commented on the Portuguese police, people and Ambassador in light of the Madeleine McCann investigation. This provoked a record 485 complaints from readers, none of which led to any breaches of the Code. A complaint from the Ambassador himself was resolved amicably. So whilst the figures rose sharply, only one complaint was ultimately addressed.” Well, the matter is far from being resolved, the hatred was directed at all of us, Portuguese Citizens, either living in Portugal or residing abroad, and for me this isn’t an adequate answer of a self-proclaimed Press Commission Regulative Committee.
In January 5, 2008, the Telegraph published without qualms an article bylined by another McCann couple sycophant, Simon Heffer penned an opinion column titled 'Boycott Portugal' – this was an outrageous and unambiguous incitation to racism: “Portugal has revealed itself to be little more than a banana republic through the handling of this case. Whether you have small children or not, you would be mad even to think of having a holiday there.”
Is this journalism? Are the UK media editors so keen in making money that they allow journalism to steep this low? Was it really needed to turn the case of a missing presumed dead child, who is still unsolved mainly due to the uncooperativity of her own parents, into some kind of primitive soccer match between Portugal and England?
Or has the mainstream media in the UK been so Foxized by Murdoch's News Corp. that they don’t even distinguish any more that certain tactics should not be used to exaggerate and sensationalize the news?!
I am keen to follow the PCC commitment to regulate the printed and online press, mainly regarding the Lusophobic bias and understand if the Editors' Committee is really interested in changing the pitiable journalistic ethics and standards of the UK printed press.
Best Regards from Lisbon, Joana Morais
PS*. Oh, and Mr. Greenslade, before you mention Dacre's hypocrisy you should take a hard look at yourself.
*the above post scriptum was only published at Greenslades', obviously.