the legal battle:


The Reply

The legal documents so far:

The original letter from ITN's solicitors

Statement of Claim from ITN

The Defence

Two-Ten Statement in Open Court

>The Reply

The Defendants' List of Documents

Request For Further and Better Particulars of the Defence

The Reply to the Request

Request for Further and Better Particulars of the Reply








- and -








1. The Plaintiffs join issue with the Defendants on their Defence, save in so far as it consists of admissions, and save for any admissions pleaded below.

2. As to paragraphs 8 and 11 of the Defence:-

2.1 The Defendants' attempt to justify the words complained of will in any event be relied on by the Second and Third Plaintiffs in aggravation of damages.

2.2 It is averred that the particulars pleaded under this paragraph are wholly inadequate, for the most part comprising equivocal and self-serving assertions.

2.3 Without prejudice to the contention in 2.2 above, the Plaintiffs respond as follows to he case advanced in the said particulars:-

[a] It is admitted that on 5 August 1992, the Second and Third Plaintiffs went to the camp run by the Bosnian Serbs at Trnopolje ("the camp") to compile television news reports for the First Plaintiff ("ITN"). The Second Plaintiff was reporting for ITN generally, the Third Plaintiff for Channel Four News (which is also produced by ITN).

[b] It is averred that the depicted fence was self-evidently made of barbed wire. It is further averred that Fikret Alic, who was self-evidently emaciated, and the other men filmed (many of whom were also emaciated) were justifiably shown as being "behind" the depicted fence in so far as it formed part of an enclosure ("the enclosure") within which the men were being detained, and from which they were not at liberty to come and go at will. The enclosure was almost entirely fenced in (with either barbed or chicken wire), and its perimeter was in any event patrolled by armed Bosnian Serb guards.

[c] It is denied that either the Second or Third Plaintiffs, or any other member of the ITN crew present at the camp, was guilty of selectively writing, compiling, filming or editing reports so as deliberately to misrepresent Fikret Alic "as being caged behind a barbed wire fence." To the extent that the Plaintiffs' reports "suggested or indicated" that Fikret Alic was imprisoned and "behind" (as opposed to in front of) barbed wire, it is averred that was nothing misleading about them.

[d] It is accordingly denied (in so far as it be alleged) that the Plaintiffs or any of them encouraged and/or are to blame for such "interpretations" of the ITN reports filmed at the camp as others may have chosen to disseminate. At no time have the Plaintiffs ever characterised the camp as being "akin to Nazi concentration camps".

[e] In the premises, it is denied that there were any "true circumstances" concerning such reports which it was incumbent upon the Second and Third Plaintiffs to "explain publicly."

3. As to paragraphs 9 and 12 of the Defence, paragraphs 2.1 to 2.3 above are repeated mutatis mutandis.

4. Further or alternatively, the Defendants were actuated by express malice in publishing the words complained of.


4.1 It is notorious that during the late 1980s and early 1990s:

[a] the authoritarian, avowedly Marxist and Soviet-backed communist regimes in eastern Europe collapsed;

[b] the similarly authoritarian and avowedly Marxist communist regime in the Soviet Union also collapsed, precipitating the break-up of the Soviet Union itself;

[c] the mainstream communist parties in western and eastern Europe have since wholly or largely abandoned the ideology of Marxism and reformed themselves as conventional socialist or social-democratic parties;

[d] the Milosevic regime in Serbia emerged as one of the last authoritarian and unreformed communist regimes in Europe.

4.2 Living Marxism is the ideological organ and/or is supportive of the Revolutionary Communist Party, the aims of which are to overthrow the existing political systems which prevail in Western Europe and the United States. Accordingly, and notwithstanding the facts and matters set out at 4.1 above, it is to be inferred that the Defendants continue to believe in Marxism as a political ideology and support revolutionary communism.

4.3 Since the outbreak of the Yugoslavian crisis in about 1991, Living Marxism has consistently pursued a policy of:

[a] publishing pro-Serbian propaganda on the footing that Western "imperialist" and "capitalist" powers (principally the USA, Britain, France and Germany) have conspired to "demonise" the Serbian people in order to justify their intervention;

[b] attacking the Western Press, even to the point of smearing individual journalists, for ostensibly conspiring with Western governments in seeking to make scapegoats of the Serbs.

Prior to discovery, the following are the best examples the Plaintiffs can presently give:

4.3.1 An editorial in the December 1991 issue which claimed that the West was pursuing a propaganda campaign to scapegoat the Serbs which, if pursued to its ultimate conclusion, would blow Serbia off the map.

4.3.2 A virulently anti-Croatian article by the assistant editor, Joan Phillips, headed "How to invent a nation" in the March 1992 issue, in which she:

[a] condemned Croatia's recent independence from Yugoslavia, blaming Croatia for "the enormous loss of life in six months of civil war with Serbia";

[b] accused Croatia of manufacturing a national identity "to legitimise its carve up of the Yugoslav market", in the process becoming "a sort of German colony".

4.3.3 An article headed "'White niggers' of the new world order" in July 1992 issue attacked Britain, the USA and Germany for ostensibly demonising Serbia, claiming that newspapers had cynically peddled propaganda depicting the Serbs as "monkeys and mass murderers"

4.3.4 An editorial by the Second Defendant headed "Who's next" in the August 1992 issue, in which he condemned the West for criticising Serbian aggression while letting the Croats off the hook, and claimed that the Serbs had been "paraded across the Western Press as apes and murderers" while the USA had become "the loudest critic of Serb 'barbarism' in Bosnia, in a bid to get ahead of Germany in the global anti-Serbian stakes".

4.3.5 An article by the assistant editor headed "Who's to blame" in the August 1992 issue, in which she argued that it was Croatian and Slovenian (rather than Serbian) nationalism, as well as "rivalries among the imperialist (i.e. Western) powers" which led to the break-up of Yugoslavia.

4.3.6 An article by the assistant editor headed "The invention of a Holocaust" in the September 1992 issue, in which she:

[a] attacked the ostensible "Serb-baiting" and demonisation of the Serbs by all sections of the British and Western media;

[b] claimed that the West could hardly lecture Serbia about concentration camps when the British had invented them and still ran one in Ireland (namely, HMP Maze).

4.3.7 An article headed "Never again?" in the October 1992 issue which, while ostensibly condemning Western comparisons of "Serbian prison camps" and the Nazi extermination of Jews, went on to claim that there was in truth "little to distinguish" the underlying racist principles which informed the imperialist and capitalist policies of the Nazis and the Allied powers alike.

4.3.8 An editorial by the Second Defendant headed "A Manifesto Against Militarism" in the October 1992 issue (and subsequently republished in the November and December 1992 issues as a manifesto of the Revolutionary Communist Party), in which he claimed:

[a] that "Germany has targeted Serbia to demonstrate its own authority in Europe";

[b] that the Serbs had been "set up to play the part of the West's whipping-boys";

[c] that "the West knows best" argument had "already been used to justify starvation sanctions and carpet-bombing against Serbia".

4.3.9 An article headed "Cleansing the Holocaust" in the October 1992 issue, which claimed:

[a] that "the ideologues of capitalism were pursuing a secret agenda" to rewrite history and thereby lend legitimacy to the West's New World Order;

[b] that this was why "the Serbs have become the new Nazis" and why the world's media "has invented a veritable Holocaust in Bosnia".

4.3.10 An article headed "Lies, damn lies and Bosnia" in the November 1992 issue, in which the assistant editor (reporting conversations with Serbs in both Bosnia and Serbia itself) claimed that "the truth about what has gone in Yugoslavia" had been "well and truly buried by the British media", with the Serbs "doing nothing right in the eyes of the Western media" and being blamed for everything bad happening in Bosnia.

4.3.11 An article by the assistant editor headed "Who lit the Yugo powder-keg?" in the January 1993 issue, in which she sought to lay "overriding culpability" for the break-up of Yugoslavia on "Western intervention".

4.3.12 An editorial by the Second Defendant headed "Horror stories" in the January 1993 issue, in which he suggested that "the West" had invented "death camps" and "another Holocaust" in order "to justify its campaign against Serbia".

4.3.13 An article by the assistant editor headed "Whose side is Amnesty on?" in the February 1993 issue, in which she attacked Amnesty International for running an "insidious" advertisement which ostensibly endorsed "the anti-Serbian bias that has become the hallmark of Western media coverage" (even though the advertisement in question did not even mention the Serbs).

4.3.14 An article headed "Behind a humanitarian mask" in the February 1993 issue in which it was claimed:

[a] that "Western diplomacy today is primarily concerned with the rehabilitation of imperialism";

[b] that the real reason why the main Western powers became involved in Yugoslavia was to contain the expansion of German influence, rather than to contain the Serbs.

4.3.15 A sequence of articles headed "Hidden side of the Yugoslav war" in the March 1993 issue, in which:

[a] the British government was criticised for banning (in accordance with the UN-declared sanctions against Serbia) a photograph exhibition entitled "Genocide Against the Serbs" ("the Belgrade exhibition"), even though it had in fact been organised as a blatant propaganda exercise (as evidenced by the inclusion of photographs from the Second World War) by the authorities in the Serbian capital;

[b] "official England" was accused of having been involved "in a kind of propaganda against the Serbs";

[c] the assistant editor reported on her visit to the Belgrade exhibition, in the process taking the opportunity to condemn the "distortion and downright lies" supposedly peddled by the British media (including the Second Plaintiff) for the purpose of criminalising the Serbs.

4.3.16 An editorial by the Second Defendant headed "Tell it like it is" in the March 1993 issue, in which he defended the decision by Living Marxism to publish photographs from the Belgrade exhibition on the grounds that governments and the media in Britain and the West had indulged in "a systematic misrepresentation of the facts" in order to give the "overwhelming impression...that the Serbs are the arch-villains of the piece".

4.3.17 An article headed "What does the West want?" in the March 1993 issue, in which it was claimed that one of Britain's most significant contributions to the conflict in Yugoslavia was "the anti-Serb propaganda campaign"

4.3.18 An article headed "Breaking the selective silence" in the April 1993 issue, in which the assistant editor:

[a] boasted of how the magazine's decision to publish the photographs she had brought back from the Belgrade exhibition (it is to be inferred with the permission and support of the Serbian authorities) had broken "the British government and media blockade that has covered up one side of the war in the former Yugoslavia";

[b] asserted that the campaign against anti-Serbian "official lies and media distortion has only just begun";

[c] accused Western journalists of going to Bosnia with just one story in mind: namely, "the Serbs are the bad guys and the Muslims are the victims"; and seeing "only what they want to see - Serbian atrocities everywhere and Serbian victims nowhere";

[d] claimed that the West's idea to "stage" a war crimes tribunal was simply a ruse to put mainly Serbs in the dock (and that if there was any justice, Western leaders should be in the dock "for the deaths and suffering they have caused from Iraq and Bosnia to Somalia and Angola").

4.3.19 An article headed "Who's making the news in Bosnia?" in the May 1993 issue, in which the assistant editor attacked and smeared Roy Gutman, a leading American journalist (who had also won the Pulitzer Prize for his war-reporting in Bosnia), obliquely suggesting that he had colluded with a discredited British mercenary in the fabrication of bogus Anti-Serbian atrocity stories.

4.3.20 An article headed "Hidden Agenda" in the June 1993 issue, in which the assistant editor claimed to "expose" the cynical diplomatic circus over Bosnia (including the imposition of sanctions against Serbia; the push to set up a war-crimes tribunal; the enforcing of a no-fly zone over Bosnia; and the policing of the Danube to prevent sanctions-busting by the Serbs) as being really "about establishing the authority of Western governments, and the pecking order among the great powers".

4.3.21 An editorial by the Second Defendant headed "From the Falklands to Bosnia" in the June 1993 issue, in which he condemned the Labour left and the peace movement, who had opposed Margaret Thatcher's "war against the Argentines" and her support for a war against Iraq, for supposedly now championing "her militaristic attitude towards the Serbs".

4.3.22 An article headed "Left, right, left, right" in the June 1993 issue, which similarly condemned "feminists, socialists, peace activists and other assorted radicals" for supposedly endorsing the calls by Margaret Thatcher and others for Western intervention in Bosnia and thereby encouraging the "demonisation" of Serbia as a "fascist regime".

4.3.23 An article headed "A mess made in the West" in the June 1993 issue, in which the assistant editor:

[a] accused Germany (as a way of "establishing its authority as an independent world power and master of Europe") of having orchestrated the European Union's abandonment of its neutral stand on Yugoslavia and adopting in its place a policy of hostility to Serbia as "the guilty party";

[b] condemned the West's "one-sided" vilification of the Serbian regime and the Serbs, blaming this for prolonging the war;

[c] Sought to justify the razing of mosques in an eastern Bosnian town as the reaction of "enraged Serbs" to the West's biased accusations against them.

4.3.24 An article headed "How the West has won" in the July 1993 issue, in which the assistant editor claimed:

[a] that in order to satisfy their power-hungry ambitions, the Western powers had singled out the Serbs "as the most barbaric, bloodthirsty and Balkan of all the warring 'tribes'", making them a "pariah people", and bashing the Serbs as "a way of bolstering their authority on the world stage";

[b] that the Serbs were the victims of "one of the most defamatory media campaigns of history", having been vilified by the Western media as "apes, barbarians, communists, fascists, rapists and psychopaths": the "'white niggers' of the New World Order".

4.3.25 An article headed "Why they love a good war crime" in the July 1993 issue, in which the UN's decision to set up an international tribunal to try war-crimes committed in Yugoslavia was in reality a device by the capitalist powers, who did not care whether anyone was convicted or not, to confirm and lend global legitimacy to the moral superiority of the West.

4.3.26 An editorial by the Second Defendant headed "Peacekeeping means imperialism" in the August 1993 issue, in which he claimed that UN peacekeeping operations, such as that in Yugoslavia, were in reality akin to colonial-style wars whereby the West could impose its will on the world and "starve states like Iraq or Serbia with sanctions".

4.3.27 An article headed "Bloody liberals" in the September 1993 issue, in which the assistant editor:

[a] excoriated liberal commentators in the British media for ostensibly characterising the Serbs as the aggressors;

[b] criticised Channel Four for "Serb-bashing and intervention-mongering" (even though Channel Four had broadcast her own documentary "Journalists at War" the previous month);

[c] accused the "increasingly conformist and uncritical" Western media of having jumped "on the anti-Serb bandwagon created by their governments at the start of the war in Yugoslavia, and never asked questions about what was going on";

[d] accused Western liberals of "double standards" because they expressed anguish about Sarajevo and none about Belgrade (even though the Serbian capital had at no time been under siege or attack).

4.3.28 An editorial by the Second Defendant headed "In defence of freedom" in the March 1994 issue, in which he:

[a] criticised the "world-wide chorus demanding Nato air-strikes against the Serbian encampments around Sarajevo, after 68 people were killed in the city in a February attack by unidentified forces";

[b] implied that the discredited governments of the major capitalist states had set about "condemning the Serbs as barbarians" as a means of diverting attention from the economic slump, incompetence, corruption and sleaze on their own doorsteps.

4.3.29 An editorial by the Second Defendant headed "The heroic General and the pathetic Major" in the April 1994 issue, in which he:

[a] condemned the call for more troops to be sent to Bosnia by Lieutenant-General Sir Michael Rose (who was then commander of UN forces in the region);

[b] implied that the cross-party support of British politicians for the peacekeeping operation (with its anti-Serbian bias) was in truth indicative of "the moral rehabilitation" of Western imperialism and militarism.

4.3.30 An article headed "The case against war crimes trials" in the December 1994 issue, in which the assistant editor argued "that there is an out-of-control aggressor in Bosnia - and it is not the Serbs, but the Americans".

4.3.31 An article headed "The other Bosnian war" in the January 1995 issue, in which the assistant editor:

[a] accused the UN "of staging a political showtrial using the methods of a kangaroo court";

[b] argued that the true purpose of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia ("the UN Tribunal") was simply to give a semblance of official legitimacy to the West's portrayal of "the entire Serbian people as a race of bestial, genocidal killers" and the most guilty party in the conflict.

4.3.32 An editorial by the Second Defendant headed "What's a war crime between friends?" in the June 1995 issue, in which he claimed that the UN Tribunal:

[a] was "underpinned by powerful racial prejudice" which gave "the politics of racial inferiority a veneer of legality";

[b] was nothing more than a lawless exercise in demonstrating Western authority and power, intended to keep the "bloodthirsty" Serbs in their place.

4.3.33 An article headed "'I will go to a war crimes tribunal when Americans are tried for Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Vietnam, Cambodia, Panama'" in the July/August 1995 issue, in which the assistant editor condemned the UN Tribunal:

[a] for amounting in Western eyes to "the second best thing to a bombing campaign" for the purpose of "sorting out the Serbs";

[b] for being a lawless body which would treat "any Serb accused of war crimes" as being "guilty until proven innocent".

4.3.34 An article headed "Cleansing the West's dirty war" in the September 1995 issue, in which the assistant editor claimed that "the latest round of bloodshed in the former Yugoslavia was made in Washington - and it was made respectable by the anti-Serb crusaders of the liberal media in Europe and the USA".

4.3.35 An editorial by the Second Defendant headed "Would you believe them?" in the September 1995 issue, in which he similarly accused "the Western left-liberal intelligentsia" of having worked itself up into a "feverish anti-Serb state" as "an outlet for all of their frustrations with life today".

4.3.36 An article headed "Pax Americana?" in the November 1995 issue, in which the author claimed that the Americans "went to war against the Bosnian Serbs this summer because Serb-bashing has become the measure of every Western leader's international authority", the Serbs having been "the West's whipping boys" since the outset of the Yugoslav conflict.

4.3.37 An article headed "The 'multi-ethnic' myth" in the January 1996 issue, in which the author:

[a] attacked the Bosnian Muslims as fanatical and autocratic Islamic nationalists;

[b] claimed that "the multi-ethnic myth" of the Bosnian state had been "propagated by liberal opinion in the West", thereby providing "a moral fig leaf for the Western powers which have been interfering in Bosnia".

4.3.38 An article headed "Maggie's recovered war memories" in the February 1996 issue, in which the author:

[a] accused "the press - and particularly the liberal press" of having "acted as a mouthpiece for war propaganda against the Serbs";

[b] attacked Maggie O'Kane, a war correspondent with The Guardian, as a lying journalist who "was the living embodiment of the propaganda war against the Serbs" who had been "singled out for political purposes".

4.3.39 An article headed "What's in a 'mass grave'?" in the March 1996 issue, in which the author claimed that the reports of "mass graves", containing the bodies of thousands of people killed by the Bosnian Serbs, were the work of the US intelligence services "as part of their propaganda war against the Bosnian Serbs".

4.3.40 A feature headed "'When you ask questions, they scream, vilify and denounce'" in the June 1996 issue, which centred on a sympathetic interview by Thomas Deichmann of Peter Handke, an Austrian writer who had been heavily criticised in the German-language Press for his pro-Serbian "travelogue" of a visit to Serbia (but not Bosnia), and for describing reporters covering the Yugoslav conflict as "war dogs".

4.3.41 A sympathetic and uncritical interview by Deichmann headed "'I Accuse'" in the July/August 1997 issue which:

[a] simply provided a safe platform for Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader who stands indicted as a war criminal by the UN Tribunal, to express his views and protest his innocence;

[b] was billed on the front cover with the caption "WAR CRIMINAL OR WHIPPING BOY?", thereby clearly implying to readers of Living Marxism that Karadzic was not guilty of any war crimes but had simply been made a scapegoat by the West;

[c] included Karadzic's self-serving and grossly defamatory claims that the Plaintiffs' reports from Trnopolje, especially the depicted fence, were a frame-up and responsible for the deaths of countless civilian Serbs;

4.3.42 An article headed "TIME TO PUT THE WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL IN THE DOCK" in the July/August 1997 issue, in which the author effectively suggested that the conviction by the UN Tribunal of Dusko Tadic, a Bosnian Serb, was a miscarriage of justice.

4.3.43 An editorial by the Second Defendant headed "MEDIA MONSTERS" in the July/August 1997 issue, in which he argued that Karadzic:

[a] "certainly has far less blood on his hands than many of his powerful accusers in the West";

[b] had been "singled out" as a war criminal because he was "a convenient whipping boy against whom to demonstrate US power and the authority of the civilised West over the rest of the world".

4.4 The feature complained of was originally published in the January/ February 1997 edition of a German magazine called Novo. It was written by Thomas Deichmann, an individual who regularly writes for Novo: a sister or associated publication of Living Marxism which shares the latter's ideology and is similar in content. The Defendants have at all material times publicly supported and stood by Deichmann in his attempts to defend the feature complained of.

4.5 Deichmann is publicly on record as saying that the Bosnian Muslims shown on the ITN reports were not "imprisoned" behind a barbed wire fence, and that the camp "was not a prison...but a collection centre for refugees, many of whom went there seeking safety and could leave again if they wished". The Plaintiffs will contend that in peddling this line, Deichmann (with the connivance or approval of the Defendants) has wilfully sought to mislead the public into believing that none of the people in the camp were forcibly imprisoned against their will.

4.6 The Defendants have cynically sought to capitalise on the fact that Plaintiffs have brought this action. By way of example:

[a] the Second Defendant and Deichmann have offered themselves for interview, and have given a joint press conference at which it was claimed that the various awards won by the Plaintiffs for their reports from the Trnopolje and Omarska camps should be withdrawn;

[b] since the March 1997 issue, the front cover of Living Marxism is routinely emblazoned with the words "The mag ITN wants to gag" as part of the Defendants' specious and self-serving attempts to present this action as an unwarranted attack on the freedom of the Press.

4.7 In the premises, the Plaintiffs will contend that the Defendants published the words complained of with the sole or predominant improper motive of:

[a] fuelling its campaign of pro-Serbian propaganda by smearing Western journalists who publish or broadcast reports which are critical of Serbian conduct and/or harmful to the Serbian cause in the Yugoslav conflict; and

[b] thereby hoping to further the cause of revolutionary communism and/or Marxist ideology by publicly exposing "imperialist" and "capitalist" Western powers such as the USA, Britain, France and Germany, together with their "mouthpieces" in the Western media.

5 For the avoidance of doubt, the Defendants are put on notice that the facts and matters pleaded under paragraph 4 above will be relied on by the Second and Third Defendants in aggravation of damages.


Served this 14 day of July 1997 by Biddle & Co. of 1 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7BU, Solicitors for the Plaintiffs

1997 - I - No. 139








- and -








Biddle & Co, 1 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7BU

Solicitors for the Plaintiffs

Tel: 0171 606 9301

Ref: DL/FA

Fax: 0171 606 3305

The Defendants' List of Documents