'But does it matter?'

By Phil Hammond in England (3-19-00)

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[ IF you are unfamiliar with the libel case the British news station ITN brought against LM, a small alternative magazine, we suggest you see the three articles listed below under Further reading ]

The LM-ITN verdict has several disturbing implications. But perhaps worst of all is the fact that the shrill media debate which followed the case has obscured its most important outcome: Thomas Deichmann's revelation that it was ITN's journalists who were surrounded by barbed wire - not the men they were filming - was shown in court to be true. Even the presiding judge noted in his summing up that 'Clearly Ian Williams and Penny Marshall and their TV teams were mistaken in thinking they were not enclosed by the old barbed wire fence'. 'But', the judge asked rhetorically, 'does it matter?' It may not matter in the English libel courts, but surely to those of us seeking to understand the Bosnian war and its media coverage - indeed, to most reasonable people - this is exactly what matters most. PH


Further reading on the Libel case...

* 'English Libel law, a Disgrace to Democracy' by Mike Hume, editor of LM magazine. Mr. Hume remains defiant, and is looking for a job. http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/hume/english.htm

* Tears of the Mighty by Jared Israel. What was at issue in the LM-ITN fight? Why do we say LM was right? Also: a look at some amazing coverage from Reuters, the British news agency. Go to http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/jared/of.htm

"The Truth vs. ITN - And Reuters" Includes the original LM article, over which ITN sued, and the Reuters article on the trial. If you look at the pictures shown on this page, pictures that were produced by ITN and that are reproduced here from the front pages of newspapers - if you look carefully at these pictures and you are at all familiar with barbed wire, you will be able to tell that the men are on the outside of the enclosure.

To read Mr. Hammond's superb articles criticizing media coverage of the war against Yugoslavia, go to http://emperors-clothes.com/artbyauth.html and click on "H"

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