Michaella McCollum and Melissa Reid

Following the recent unpleasantness of the Peru drug muling story, which witnessed the European tabloids descend like vultures on the islands gutters in search of sensationalist headlines, Ibiza once again, was a magnet for prejudiced and negative publicity. The majority of the journalists writing these so called reports, have little or no experience of the island and its culture. This is backed up by the countless requests made by said journalists to island insiders looking for quotes and information to support their biased, agenda driven propaganda. In the silly season for press outlets and red-tops, the Peru story was milked for all that is was worth. What started out as an innocent request for help, from a family genuinely worried for the safety of a loved one, soon developed into another easy target attack on Ibiza and its so called “dark side”.

The collateral damage from this personal story of human misendeavor, will rest with the families of the naive young girls involved. For them, this will not go away in a week or two when the press moves on to the next sordid story, they will have to deal with its consequences for the rest of their lives. We will have to await the judgement of the Peruvian courts to find out the facts behind the matter, but it does look like a classic case of youthful inexperience and nativity, manipulated by a devious and clever criminal cartel, who conspired to lure the girls into their web. It’s not the first time it has happened and it certainly wont be the last. As adults, the girls will have learnt the hard way, that in life, we are all ultimately responsible for our decisions and actions. With regard to Ibiza being once again tarnished with the Sodom and Gomorrah brush, the press needs to be balanced in their reporting and the islands authorities must urgently take action to clean up San Antonio.

The Real Ibiza

The fact remains, Ibiza is not just a drug island and to call it one, is insulting to people that call it their home. There are drugs present, just like any city in the world, but the prejudiced image currently being portrayed of Ibiza, is one which is created by the actions of certain minority groups in Ibiza….its not reflective of the islands true personality. The press will always sensationalise bad news, because that’s what we like to read about. What the foreign press fail to highlight, is that when the headline grabbing minority leave the island, Ibiza reverts back to its natural and beautiful self. Its an imported problem, not an indigenous one. For seven months of the year, its rare to hear of the drug related sensationalist news that some sections of the European press tell us Ibiza is all about. “Nothing is innocent and dealing is normal” screamed one headline. Of the 2.3 million tourists that visit Ibiza each season, only 10-15% are clubbers- the demographic that are most likely to use drugs. The rest are families, couples and groups of all ages, nationalities and interests, who are there to experience the true Ibiza, the one that fails to grab the headlines mainly because there is nothing bad to report. The Ibiza tourist council, should also consider a more proactive approach to counter and dispute the spurious claims made by sections of an agenda driven media.

After the Ibiza Uncovered series, where camera crews waited until 4am in the morning to film young holidaymakers fall drunkenly out of bars and clubs, (as that was the best time to view the subject matter) authorities in Ibiza have been slow to react to negative publicity. San Antonio at present, has a serious problem associated to it and it has been going on for a number of years now. For various reasons, many of them political, the town has failed to grasp the problem and clean up the filth there. The recent negative publicity for the resort should be the wake up call for the local community to say enough is enough. It’s time to get rid of the drug dealers, looky looky men, theifs, and prostitutes that prey on naive tourists. As its a small island, the local police know exactly who they are and where to find them. A get tough policy now needs to be considered, because Ibiza as a whole (as presently witnessed) will always suffer from the crimes of a minority, as that’s the oxygen that feeds the tabloids. This is a classic case of one rotten apple spoiling the whole barrel and the island now needs to seriously address this problem before its too late. There is a strong local will to act in this area but fears that it might damage the tourist industry is holding back progress. That perception is now dead in the water, as the current headlines inflict further damage on the islands reputation. Hopefully, the recent negative publicity will be the catalyst for action.