McCann payout: a good business move?

 Commentators weighed up the significance of the Express Group payout to the McCann family in today’s press.

The McCann family payout might be bad business for journalism, but could be a good business move, argues Mark Lawson, writing in The Guardian.

Lawson also says that it is potentially “a regrettable precedent” that apologies should be issues before the absolute conclusion of the Madeleine story.

 “One of the worst scars on the record of the British press is the numerous apologies issued to those – such as Robert Maxwell and Jeffrey Archer – who later proved to be the ones who should be saying sorry”, Lawson said.

Matthew Parris, writing in The Times, said that Robert Murat, the McCann’s neighbour in Portugal, should now deserve a similar remedy in law to the family, after his character was “pulled apart from the British press” despite no charges being brought against him in the case.

 Elsewhere in the Times, Penny Wark, sketches a character study of Express Group owner Richard Desmond, saying he is, in the words of his editors, “a stranger to self doubt” but has left his titles with no defence, probably because there is none.

The Express does not cover its own story but goes big on the other libel payout of the day, the Daily Mail’s £4m to Russian businessman, Sheldon Adelson.

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