LM press releases
4 February 1997
LM EDITOR MICK HUME REPLIES TO ED VULLIAMY
Sunday's Observer carried a major feature by Ed Vulliamy attacking
Thomas Deichmann's article, 'The Picture That Fooled The World', published in the February issue of LM magazine.
In response to Vulliamy, LM editor Mick Hume says:
'Ed Vulliamy's accusation of historical revisionism against LM
magazine and Thomas Deichmann is a favourite witch-hunting tactic
of our times. As even the British government has discovered, the
cheapest way to discredit somebody these days is to try to associate
them with Nazism. People like Vulliamy will now shout about Holocaust
denial whenever somebody dares to disagree with them. And yet
he has the nerve to accuse us of trivialising genocide and insulting
'Vulliamy's histrionics - "filth", "poison" etc - are a smokescreen
behind which he avoids the central issue in Thomas Deichmann's
article: how the famous ITN pictures of Bosnian Muslims at Trnopolje
camp were taken, presented and interpreted. He says that he knows
the picture of Fikret Alic apparently caged behind barbed wire
was not a "misleading image" but an "honest shot", because he
was there on 5 August 1992 and we were not. But you do not have
to have ever set foot in Bosnia to know the truth; the unedited
rushes which the British news team shot on that day reveal the
whole story. If he is so sure of his facts, perhaps Vulliamy could
persuade his friends at ITN to comply with our request to broadcast
that film in full.
'For a journalist who insists that eye-witnesses know best, Ed
Vulliamy appears to have a remarkably poor memory. His impressions
of Trnopolje camp seem to have altered several times over the
past four and a half years. For instance, in Sunday's Observer
piece, Vulliamy writes that as the news team approached Trnopolje
on 5 August 1992 they were "met by an unforgettable sight: a group
of men gathered behind a barbed wire fence, some of them skeletal,
talking of mass murder in yet more camps". Yet in his first report
on Trnopolje, published in the Guardian on 7 August 1992, he did
not mention a word about the barbed wire fence that has now become
so "unforgettable". Several other mysterious inconsistencies have
somehow crept into Vulliamy's story.
'Ed Vulliamy finds "outrageous" my statement that "journalists
who have some kind of emotional attachment in a conflict can end
up seeing what they want to see, rather than what is really there".
The word "attachment" he finds "particularly odious", since proper
journalists are "always objective".
'In fact the term "journalism of attachment" was coined by Martin
Bell of the BBC, who is leading the post-Bosnia calls for journalists
to side with "good" against "evil" rather than just reporting
facts. Vulliamy himself is a prime exponent of the "journalism
of attachment", and he has not previously been shy about taking
sides in Bosnia. Vulliamy's declarations of objectivity in the
Observer sit a little uneasily with his remarks at the start of
his book Seasons in Hell, where he denounces the "bizarre requirement
that we remain 'objective' over the most appalling racialist violence.
There is no attempt here to be objective towards the perpetrators
of Bosnia's ethnic carnage or those who appeased them." (page
'The final irony is that Ed Vulliamy, who has tried to win a reputation
as a crusader against corruption in high places and the abuse
of power, should now declare his support for ITN's attempt to
gag LM magazine through the libel courts - an unprecedented attack
on press freedom by a multi-million pound news organisation.
'LM stands 100 per cent behind Thomas Deichmann's story. We fully
intend to fight all of the libel writs and gagging orders they
throw at us. And now that Ed Vulliamy has been given the opportunity
to put his side of the story, we ask the national media to let
us state our case.'