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The Earley Edition has officially moved to http://earleyedition.com/blog. My dot com, that is. Thanks for joining me.





Monday, June 13, 2005

Scorpions - Srebrenica video

If you haven't heard about the video, I will explain very briefly. A video taken by members of a Serb paramilitary unit, the Scorpions, was shown recently to the ICTY in The Hague as evidence against former president of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic. The video showed the execution of 17 Muslim civilians in Srebrenica. Despite up to 8000 civilians being massacred in Srebrenica, a recent survey in Serbia showed half of Serbs don't believe the event even took place.

This video has, however, shocked a lot of people. It's amazing what some visual stimuli can do. The tape showing the execution was aired on Serbian TV a day or two after being presented as evidence against Milosevic.

I get a few daily emails from the Media Center in Belgrade, one of which is "Press clipping on media coverage of other media," a daily roundup of news about the media. This post was inspired by what I saw in the 'Media on Media' email a few days ago.
Broadcasting of War Crimes
Source: (Nin, page 15 / June 10, 2005)


Nin (newspaper) published an article about broadcast of the tape showing execution of Muslim civilians from Srebrenica. Nin wrote that TV B92 aired 8 minutes out of 26 minutes of the original tape, whereas RTS (Radio Television Serbia) aired 20 seconds of the footage. Aleksandar Tijanic, RTS General Manager argued that according to the international journalism Code of Conduct, broadcasting of the very act of murder was not acceptable. Miroljub Radojkovic, Professor of Belgrade Faculty of Political Science contended that there was no general rule regarding the broadcasting of murder scenes, except for the warning for the audience.
Exactly. The "act of murder" and the murder scene are two very different things. Many nightly news reports, perhaps not on commercial news but definitely on SBS, are preceded by warnings about graphic images where necessary. The act of murder isn't shown, but dead bodies or injured people may be. Sometimes it needs to be to wake people up to the fact that these things are really - really - happening. In a country where people don't believe something like this happened its shock value needs to be employed. When you have government and military officials who make it their priority to continue to misinform their populace about the truth behind abhorrent actions you need a free media willing to buck that trend. Unfortunately in Serbia many media outlets continue to contribute to the misinformation not out of ignorance of the truth but through the willful obfuscation of it. This from the video article first linked to above:
Few Serbian broadcasters made much of the report and the print media did not put the gruesome images on their front pages.

Svetlana Lukic, a journalist from B92 journalist [sic], told IWPR, “The media is predominantly nationalist and wants to play down and minimise this horrible event as much as possible."
To show only 20 seconds of footage allows not only the news reader, but also the uncomfortable viewer, to move to a new topic on screen and in thought. Eight minutes of footage of an event like that forces the viewer to watch what is taking place in shock and horror. Another article tells how B92 withheld some of the additional footage that showed torture of the victim because it was "too disturbing".

Is it ethical then to force viewers to watch for eight minutes? There is no compulsion involved. If a warning has been given every viewer has the opportunity, if they can shake themselves out of stupefaction, to simply change the channel. I would like to think, however, that any viewer with a conscience would realise what they were seeing was simply the smallest exposition of the lies they had been fed. Questions begin to be asked. Free thoughts begin to form. Dialogue begins. B92 should be proud.

the earley edition - Posted by Dave @ 6/13/2005 10:22:00 pm || || Return to Top