LM press releases
Thursday 6 March 1997
FIRST PUBLIC SHOWING OF ITN FILM AT CENTRE OF BOSNIA REPORTING
The film at the centre of what has become the most talked about
war-reporting controversy since the Gulf war will be shown to
the public tonight for the first time.
The picture of emaciated Bosnian Muslim Fikret Alic, apparently
caged behind a barbed wire fence, that was taken from the award-winning
ITN report filmed at the Trnopolje camp on 5 August 1992, became
an enduring symbol of the Bosnian war. The picture provoked an
international outcry and was seen by much of the world as proof
that the Bosnian Serbs were running Nazi-style 'concentration
camps'. But controversy has surrounded the picture for the past
month after an investigation by German journalist Thomas Deichmann
questioned the way in which this powerful image was produced and
It is Deichmann's copy of the unedited ITN report that will be
shown tonight to an audience of journalists and readers of LM,
the magazine that published Deichmann's article. LM editor Mick
Hume, who is being sued for libel by ITN, will address the audience
in defence of a free press. The event will launch the 'Off the
Fence Fund' which aims to raise money to defend LM in court.
Deichmann himself is incensed by the reaction to his article in
"In Germany, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland journalists
have freely reported my story and the substance of the investigation
has been debated both within and beyond the media. In Britain,
the country which should be most outraged by the story, reporting
has been restricted by ITN's wielding of libel threats not just
against LM magazine, but against other journalists who have tried
to pursue the story. I am bringing my evidence to Britain to give
people there the opportunity to judge for themselves what ITN
does not apparently want them to see".
Deichmann will be joined on the platform by George Kenney, the
US Department of State official who resigned in August 1992 in
protest at US policy toward the Yugoslav crisis. Kenney has become
a well-known commentator on the crisis, appearing extensively
on US television and writing for US and European newspapers on
the subject. He will speak about how, from his post in the centre
of US policy-making, he witnessed the impact the ITN report had
on public understanding of the war and on US foreign policy.
George Kenney says,
"Everybody over forty in the United States remembers three or
four things in common. The most shared memory of "where were you
and what were you doing when 'x' happened?" is the assassination
of President Kennedy. ITN's pictures practically reach that level:
anybody who watches the news remembers them. The psychological
shock to the public at the time was enormous. And they remain
the most important influence on public perceptions of what happened
in Bosnia, notwithstanding a stream of subsequent information
to the contrary".
Over 300 people are expected to attend the event at Church House,
Westminster, to see for themselves the "picture that fooled the
world" and to discuss the issues raised by it.
For further information and comment contact:
Jan Macvarish, LM Press officer
(0171) 278 9908 or 0831 246 694
Details of the event:
Thursday 6 March
Main Assembly Hall, Church House
Great Smith Street, Westminster, SW1
Followed by informal wine reception in the Harvey Goodwin Suite.
(refreshments available from 6.30pm)
Thomas Deichmann and George Kenney are available for interview
Friday 7 March 1997.