Not long ago I was checking on our CARI search terms and found a delightful article by Jacquelin Magnay that continues to pop up. Titled “Chequered career of private investigator Adam Whittington”. Published on 14 April 2016, it was filled with lies and false information procured from inaccurate sources. You have to ask how this article even became published, well it all goes back to Lebanon.
In the early days of my detainment along with Sally Faulkner and the 60 minutes crew, we men were held in inhumane, barbaric conditions in an underground dungeon in Beirut Lebanon. No sunlight, no food and no clean water and no contact with the outside world except for sparse visits from lawyers and embassy officials. Within the first couple of days in the dungeon I was told that a visitor from the Embassy wanted to speak with me. I made my way to the steel door to speak to my visitor through the grate in the middle of the door.
My “Embassy Visitor” quickly announced herself as Jaquelin Magnay from Fairfax media in Australia. She told me she wanted to tell my side of the story. All I said to her was that my side of the story was simple, look at Colin Chapman and the reasons he set us up to be here. She told me that she was already aware of the situation with Colin Chapman and she was investigating it. I was furious that I was duped by a journalist thinking that I was actually receiving some news from the Embassy, my hopes were quashed the moment she announced herself. I called to the guards and asked them to remove her which they did.
Just a couple of days later she published the infamous article “Chequered career of private investigator Adam Whittington” in the Australian newspaper. The inaccuracies right from the start were evident. Firstly I am a Child recovery agent not a private investigator. She said I was a former Scotland Yard detective which I have never said I was. It all goes on to become offensive and defamatory from then on. Claims that I had narrowly escaped arrest in Peru were ridiculous, my passport puts that story to rest. The list goes on and I won’t bore you with the details but this was a far cry from the article she said she was going to write.
The source of this information was from a website, set up by my competitors on 7 April 2017, to capitalise on defaming me at my lowest point and when i was unable to defend myself. The website was full of fabricated lies and I was able to successfully have this removed after complaints to google. The contents of this website was malicious and it was this very website that was the source of Magnay’s article. Did she attempt to verify the contents of this website with my team at CARI – No she did not, Did she attempt to contact my lawyer to ask if the contents of her article were factual – no she did not!
I was never granted the opportunity to have a right of reply to the derogatory article and now almost 2 years later it remains floating in cyberspace. At the time many articles were around also containing the same content and since October 2016 I have successfully had over 25 articles removed due to being able to prove the contents were defamatory and false, yet the Australian Newspaper and Magnay refuse to take this one down or at the very least edit the contents and add my right of reply.
Magnay attempted to see me several times whilst I was in Lebanon and hounded my lawyer. In fact my last contact with her can only be described as cruel. On the day the indictment was handed down with the recommendation of the charges against us my lawyer headed up to Aley prison to explain it all to me and what would happen next. However Magnay beat him to it, getting to Aley first and getting access to me by telling the guards she was a family relative. Once I was sat across from her, she immediately told me of the indictment and asked for my comment. Again I told the guards she was a journalist and told her to leave. Having heard the news that way was damaging to my mental state at the time as the way she explained it I was going to be stuck there for 20 years. Her visit plunged me into the depths of despair and by the time my lawyer got to me I was a wreck.
Fast forward 18 months later, CARI – Child Abduction Recovery International is busier than ever with a wait list for jobs, Project Rescue Children, of which I am the Founder and CEO, is making a huge impact on trafficked children across the world and this article has become nothing more than an annoying piece of trash that is slowly fading away.
For Magnay I have to thank her for the suffering that she brought to me during my time in Lebanon as I have become well versed in the Journalistic code of ethics and as such PRC and CARI now rely on trusted media contacts only. Journalists have a job to do, that I appreciate, yet is it worth it to cause that much pain, hurt and suffering to their subject, as well as their subjects family and friends. Does it feel good to have your work in the public knowing that it is filled with lies and false information? A journalist must always have a duty of care to ensure that the facts they report are accurate and that the subject is given a right to reply – two things that this article is very much missing!
Enjoy your day ….Adam