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18 March 1997


The Guardian Online has removed a thread from its website discussing the gagging order on LM magazine by ITN. This is the first time that any discussion of the case on the internet has been stifled. ITN's gagging order, in the form of a libel writ, was issued on 28 February in response to an article in the February issue of LM magazine. The article, "The Picture That Fooled The World" reveals the truth behind the famous ITN pictures of Bosnian Muslims apparently imprisoned behind a barbed wire fence at Trnopolje camp in August 1992.

The full story is still available at LM Online and has been reported in newspapers throughout Europe. In Britain, where the story should have the most impact, the media has been largely silent, due to alleged 'legal reasons'. Some, however, have been immune from these 'legal reasons'. Both the Guardian (12 March) and the Observer (2 February) have published vituperative articles about the magazine and those who publish it. These 'legal reasons' have again been cited by the Guardian Online in a response to those who complained about the removal of the thread.

Rebecca Fox, a spokeswoman for the Guardian, admitted that while only one part of one posting was "problematic for legal reasons", they "felt it best to take down the whole thread."

Mick Hume, LM Editor, said in response:

'The story has been discussed fully and openly on the internet. The Guardian Online's move to have the whole thread pulled represents another example of the influence of ITN's gagging order. LM magazine will use the internet to the full, both through our own site and on others, in publicising the story and the attempts to gag us.'

Note: LM magazine has also demanded that the ITN news team is stripped of its BAFTA and Royal Television Society Award, both awarded in 1993 for its world famous report from Bosnia, first broadcast on 6 August 1992. The story highlights important issues concerning journalistic standards and the responsibilities of war reporters. In the light of Thomas Deichmann's investigation, the bodies concerned should reconsider the awarding of their coveted prizes to the ITN reports. LM makes the same request of Broadcast magazine and two international award bodies.

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