The Portuguese authorities in charge of the search for missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann announced Tuesday they would occasionally brief the public about the case.


Madeleine McCann was last seen in her family's Portuguese hotel room in May. ((Associated Press))

The Superior Council of Magistrates, which oversees the work of judges, said it would provide information it deemed necessary due to the "inadequacies" of the judicial system in dealing with the media, the Associated Press reported.

The move came after the judge supervising the investigation requested more information be made public.

Authorities have been criticized for not disclosing many details about the investigation. Portugal's secrecy laws around ongoing investigations limited what information could be released.

The police had handled media inquiries but declined to comment after handing the case to the judge.

Madeleine McCann went missing from her family's Portuguese hotel room on May 3. Her parents said they had left their three children sleeping in the room while they dined at a nearby restaurant and returned to find Madeleine missing.

Kate and Gerry McCann were named as suspects in her disappearance but have not been charged. They returned to their home village of Rothley, 160 kilometres north of London, with their two other children.

They have insisted they had nothing to do with Madeleine's disappearance.

Clarence Mitchell, the family's newspokesman, repeated that claim on Tuesday.

"To suggest that they somehow harmed Madeleine, accidentally or otherwise, is as ludicrous as it is nonsensical," he said. "It would be laughable if it wasn't so serious."


Clarence Mitchell, right, the new spokesman for Kate and Gerry McCann, makes a statement to the media outside the McCann home in Rothley, England Tuesday. ((David Jones/Associated Press))

The focus should return to the search for the missing four-year-old, he added.

"Kate and Gerry are therefore again urging everyone to keep looking, not to forget the search for Madeleine, as they firmly believe that she could still be alive," he said.

With files from the Associated Press