Disappearance of Madeleine Mc Cann/Archive 1 - Response To The Disappearance

Response To The Disappearance

Over the subsequent months Madeleine's parents implemented a publicity campaign that kept the disappearance in the public eye in many countries though there was criticism that the media attention was excessive and lacked objectivity. The disappearance led the news in the UK for over a week with subsequent daily coverage of events. There was regular coverage in Portugal and periodic coverage in other countries.

An official site for the search was set up and a fund-raising company, known as Madeleine's Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned, was launched. The directors of the company subsequently decided that no money from the Fund would be used to pay the McCanns' legal costs. There were appeals from many political leaders and sporting personalities and over £2.6 million of rewards were offered. The parents had an audience with the Pope and embarked on a tour of key European and North African countries, together with a visit to the United States, to raise and maintain awareness. The publicity spawned attempted scams with fake websites set up, people collecting money on false pretences and others falsely claiming to have information on Madeleine's whereabouts.

Following accusations in the media the McCanns, their friends, and Robert Murat instigated libel actions. The Daily Express and the Daily Star published front-page apologies and agreed to pay the McCanns £550,000 in libel damages. A grouping of British newspapers settled with Murat for a £600,000 payout and issued a public apology. BSkyB also paid him damages in a separate libel case. Sergey Malinka and Michaela Walczuch accepted more than £100,000 each. The friends of the McCanns, known as the Tapas Seven, were awarded around £375,000 in damages and secured printed apologies from Express Newspapers.

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