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     Several of the daily newspapers reported the news that the German
journalist Thomas Deihmann, who was for four years reporting on the war
in Bosnia-Herzegovina, spoke out in the magazine "Novo" about many
examples of his western colleagues whose reports were full of
testimonies by false witnesses. For placing an anti-Serbian falsehood,
the American Roy Gutmann was even awarded the Pulitzer Price for
journalism. It is a question whether one belated confession can rectify
the effects of the previous premeditated actions, reflected in the
saying that a falsehood one hundred times repeated becomes the truth.
     At many gatherings where they were exchanging experiences, foreign
journalists many times were pointing out that because of their strives
to come up with a sensation and because of the complex approach to the
complicated problem of the Yugoslav crisis, their conscience completely
gave up. There were also admissions that they were often working at the
orders of some other factors.
     Thus the winner of the Pulitzer Price launched the news about the
prison camp in Omarska long before he visited it, and he supported the
entire story with testimonies of a man who himself did not see the
crimes about which he was bearing witness.
     Not one from the 350 reporters who have tried to check on the
Gutmann's news could find any proof for the statements contained in his
report, says Deihmann, qualifying such journalistic behavior as
unacceptable and irresponsible. He explains: "Already in autumn of the
year 1994 I could prove that Gutmann engaged the employee of the Croat
Ministry of Information, Miss Jadranka Cigelj, who was giving false
testimony to him and to the other reporters about the alleged raping of
Muslim women in Omarska".
     Once so launched false information made their deep mark on the
minds of people and caused a planned effect, while the real truth only
at times and always too late would reach the mind.
     About how the American public relations agency Rudder and Finn
created the propaganda activities in favor of Croatia and Muslims, its
director James Harf says the following: "We were working eighteen months
with some breaks, for Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the parliamentary
opposition in Kosovo. We won because we were aiming at the Jewish public
opinion. The press immediately changed its vocabulary and started using
the terms with strong emotional impact, such as the ethnic cleansing and
concentration camps which started to resemble the Nazi Germany and the
gas chambers at Auschwitz. The emotional charge was so strong that no
one could resist it. It is not our job to check the information, but to
speed up the flow of those which are favorable for us and to direct them
at carefully selected targets".
     Further to the individuals motivated by professional reasons, the
war area attracted also those with different intentions. Those latter
ones were more numerous and the media image of the local developments
lost every connection with reality. Whose fault is this and are only the
reporters the guilty ones? According to their own admission, all the
blame can not be placed only on their shoulders because they are only
one ring in the chain. The reports from the front lines, according to
them, had to please both editors and consumers, and not at all the
interests of the economic elite could be neglected and those of the
international organizations, governmental structures and paid lobbyists.
With all the reporters' troubles and aggressiveness of competitive
firms, one had to respect also an in advance prescribed scenario, in
which the roles of victims and aggressors were strictly divided: the
former for the Croat and the Muslims side, and the latter for the
Serbian one.
     Only an admission for many uttered falsehoods can be but a small
consolation for those who thanks to the faults of others, found
themselves on the pillar of shame. But the much more important question
remains, however, whether those bestowing justice will take the truth as
the guideline in determining the penalty for the real culprits for
crimes committed in former Yugoslavia. (Borba, January 27, 1997)

See the rest of reports on "ITN vs Truth" expose
Placed on this site on: Feb. 2, 1997