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January 1997

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[Press Gazette - 31 January 1997]

ITN threatens to sue LM over story on Bosnian conflict by Nicola Methven

ITN has threatened to sue Living Marxism magazine over allegations about one of the most famous pieces of news footage shot during the Bosnian conflict.

The LM article by German journalist Thomas Deichmann concerns the pictures of the Bosnian Serb detention camp Trnopolje, shot in 1992 by an ITN news team.

The pictures included Bosnian Muslim Fikret Alic looking emaciated behind barbed wire.

The article, which makes clear that journalists Penny Marshall, of News at Ten, Ian Williams, of Channel 4 News and Ed Vulliamy of The Guardian never referred to the place as a concentration camp themselves, shows how other media which followed the story made comparisons with the Nazi camps, such as in the Mirror headline 'Belsen 92' (7 August 1992).

In an interview with Press Gazette on 17 August 1992, under the headline 'An image too strong for truth?' Williams told of his concern over the reaction to the pictures. 'In a sense it's almost the power of the image going two steps ahead of the proof that went with them', he said.

ITN condemned the article as 'outrageous and untrue' and said it stood by its reporting of the finding of the detention camps which 'were prepared and presented with the utmost professionalism and integrity as would be expected of ITN'.

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