Aug 27, 2008
Voice of America recently interviewed a number of journalists and asked them about wartime ethics. Why Remont was not invited to contribute, I'm still trying to figure out. Basically, VOA asked a couple journalists who covered the Bosnian War in the early 90s to retell their experience and compare it to the Georgian conflict.
Bosnian reporter Kemal Kurspahic notes that in Georgia today – as in Bosnia 15 years ago – it is often difficult for journalists to determine just what is going on because of the “conflicting claims” of officials from both sides, which include charges of “ethnic cleansing by the other side.” It is helpful, Kurspahic suggests, that in the case of Georgia there are global TV reports “practically in real time.”
American journalist Roy Gutman notes a similarity with the conflict in the Balkans in the 1990s – that is, the Russians “certainly prepared themselves completely for this intervention,” and they gave strategic warning – as did former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic – months ago that they were planning “something that would affect Abkhazia and South Ossetia.” Furthermore, Gutman notes, the Russians have had “quite a propaganda apparatus at work.” He says the job of the news media in times of conflict is to check out the claims and counter-claims and to “determine what the truth really is.” Furthermore, Gutman says, Western governments “knew what to expect” in Georgia – as in Bosnia – and he is skeptical of their official pronouncements.