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Views on Martin Bashir's interview of the five alleged murderers of Stephen Lawrence, for Granada's `Tonight with Trevor McDonald'
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The Daily MAil

THE REAL victims in all this, of course, are Neville and Doreen Lawrence. They have endured the murder of a much loved son. They have been betrayed by the incompetence of the police and the failure of the judicial system. Now they have suffered the anguish of watching the suspects in the case try to justify themselves on prime-time TV. Valid journalism? What we witnessed last night seemed more like a callous effort to improve the ratings. This was not a good night for British television.

The Guardian

EACH SUSPECT irritably protested his innocence and Bashir was methodically impatient. What viewers saw depended upon who you spoke to. Either it was a sensational scoop, the one every journalist had been chasing, answering the nation's questions and proving that current affairs are safe in Trevor MacDonald's hands. Or it was a tasteless stunt for a sensationalist series - an insult to the memory of Stephen Lawrence, and a jig on the grave of quality current affairs. (Decca Aitkenhead)

The Mirror

THEY WERE given a platform and the opportunity to speak the honest truth. But James and Neil Acourt did no such thing. Only when pressed by Bashir on the question of murder did they issue a denial - displayed without an ounce of passion. They made a mockery of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry and last night, courtesy of ITV, they made a mockery of us. I suspected they were pathological liars before I watched their performance. Now I'm sure. (Sue Carroll)

The Express

THEY WILL be forever etched in the imagination as snarling racists, striking poses and throwing punches. Last night they went in for an image makeover. Interviewer Martin Bashir was admirable when he put David Norris on the spot, bluntly asking: "Would you call me a Paki?" And there was a certain satisfaction in watching Neil Acourt squirm as he was reminded that 26 people named him as one of the killers within 48 hours of the murder. But did the interviews achieve anything worthwhile? Of course not. (David Taylor)

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