1.Everyone shall possess the right to freely express and publicise his thoughts in words, images or by any other means, as well as the right to inform others, inform himself and be informed without hindrance or discrimination 2.Exercise of the said rights shall not be hindered or limited by any type or form of censorship Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, Article 37.º

Opinions are Opposed

by Manuel António Pina

There are probably good reasons for books to be burned, in the defence of someone’s right to a reputation. Nonetheless, it is within the management of the permanent conflict between personality rights and freedom of expression that its core lies, and it is there, for that same reason, that the firmness of a core value to the democratic system itself is measured.

In the trial that starts tomorrow, the McCann couple wants the destruction of all the books in which Gonçalo Amaral, the former coordinator of the investigation into the disappearance of little Madeleine, defends the position that both may have been involved in the case. Amaral argues, in favour of his thesis, with facts from the investigation itself, which he directed; the McCanns argue that Amaral’s arguments offend their right to a reputation. Justice will decide, but similar arguments could be used to burn, on a daily basis, the entire Portuguese Press, and to light an immense “Bücherverbrennung” in the democratic countries in general. An opinion is an opinion and it is worth the same as the facts that it is based upon. Opinions are not burned, they are discussed and opposed.

source: Jornal de Notícias, 11.01.2010


  1. Mr. Amaral's thesis is based on the FACTS of the investigation which he directed. I agree opinions are not burned.

    Mr. Amaral has attempted to exercise his rights under the Portugese constitution to freely express and publicise in words his thoughts as well as his right to inform others.

  2. Can the Portuguese public not see that this pair and their disgusting legal team threaten the core of democracy itself??

  3. "Opinions are not burned, they are discussed and opposed"

    That sums it up really. The McCanns, who have been free to speak openly and address all questions regarding their claim that their missing child was 'abducted' for a long time now, have chosen to avoid doing so.

    Instead, they use all means available to silence the questioners.

  4. So very well said, Manuel Antonio Pina!

  5. "Opinions are not burned, they are discussed and opposed"
    Beautifully said.
    Forca Goncalo.

  6. Of course opinions should be discussed, not burned.
    The problem the McCanns have is that their side of the story has become increasingly unbelievable.
    In fact, the more the case is discussed, and the more facts people know about the case, the harder it becomes to believe their fairytale...
    So discussion is not an option for the McCanns.

    On the other hand, burning books is not an option for everybody else. At that rate, no newspaper, no blog, no writer, NOBODY would ever be allowed to have an opinion that somebody else didn't like.
    Not acceptable. The Inquisition and the Nazis have taught us the dangers of allowing freedom of expression to be killed in the name of somebody's self-proclaimed righteousness.

    Never again should we go down that route.

  7. Just helps make more people wonder what the hell they have to hide. I would not give a jot about myself and whether I was being blamed, if my small child had disappeared. I would be most likely busy being totally deranged or zombified.

  8. "Opinions are not burned, they are discussed and opposed".

    I had that phrase ready to post after reading Nigel's McCann Files, and it has obviously hit home with all of us on here.

    Well said Manuel Antonio Pina!

    The difference between the intelligence of men like Senor Pina and Senor Amaral and the McCanns and their spokestwit, is an eye opener.

  9. If Mr and Mrs McCann are concerned about their 'right to a reputation' they should surely have challenged point by point the claims in Mr Amaral's book a long time ago. Innocent and extremely well-protected people should have nothing at all to fear, and everything to gain in re-energising the search for their missing daughter. Let's not forget, at the heart of this case is a missing child. The priority for any innocent parent would be to find their missing child not their 'right to a reputation' years after the event. Imagine the publicity and support that a detailed public rebuttal of Mr Amaral's book would have generated, not to mention money for the 'fund'. For this to occur, however, there would be a need to highlight and address the many inconsistencies and lies promulgated by the McCanns and their pals. So, almost three years on, the circus rolls into Lisbon once more on the pretext of the parents' 'right to a reputation'. Mr and Mrs McCann, you have a reputation - and you're welcome to it.

    Sadly, it has long been obvious to anyone showing even a passing interest in this case that Madeleine is not the priority for this pair, and she is certainly not a priority for the their shadowy backers.

  10. Quite.

    Should we ban atheism, because it is not possible to prove absolutely that a supreme being or beings do not exist? Or alternatively, ban belief in supreme being/s, because such belief is 'challenged' by atheism?

    Absence of absolute evidence does not mean absolute evidence of absence. It may simply mean that someone did a rather good clean-up job. Whether the McCanns like it or not, both their stance and Amaral's opposing stance are, as Pina points out so eloquently, simply opinions. Of course for anyone who looks objectively at the remaining available partial evidence in search of support for each, it's impossible to deny that one opinion looks a lot more substantiated and sane than the other...

    :) E

  11. Mr Pina, there is a line between expressing an opinion and diffamation and neither has to do with your pretty far fetched (but very effectfull) notion of "buecherverbrennung". and BTW, how come that for historic references in Portugal there are always foreign examples at hand--in this case German--where you might find some in your very own history--meaning, if you only admitted.
    the line between expressing an opinion and diffamation must at times indeed be drawn by the legal system otherwise nobody would know where the pen has to stop. or do you count on the people's ethical education to know that "out of themselves", when even you, as a professional, work chiefly with and for effects?
    considering all the severely accused but free-running and unharmed bankers, business people and corrupt politicians in Lisboa, Oeiras, Gondomar, Felgeiras or where ever, Portugal might really be in need of some legal exercise. McCanns vs. Amaral is just another example for such necessary practice.
    (note: i do not support the McCanns, nor do i not support the McCanns. i just think how the affair is handled is a matter of education and culture.)


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