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THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNALISTS' NETWORK -    IJNet - Issue #260 June 7, 2004

IFJ CRITICIZES REPORT ON MEDIA’S ROLE IN KOSOVO VIOLENCE

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has criticized a report from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that blames the media in Kosovo for stirring up ethnic tensions there between Serbs and Albanians in March 2004.

Violence erupted on March 17 after allegations surfaced - later proved false by an international investigator - that two Albanian children drowned in a river after being chased by a group of Serbs with dogs. The OSCE report said that calm, accurate and responsible reporting might have prevented or lessened the outbreak of the violence, which resulted in 19 deaths, more than 900 injuries, and damage to homes, churches and monasteries.

On May 29, IFJ backed a protest from its affiliate, the Professional Journalists Association of Kosovo, against the Temporary Media Commissioner in Kosovo and the OSCE for its report.

Speaking in Athens at IFJ's annual congress, General Secretary Aidan White said that the report failed to prove any systematic attempts to distort news coverage to incite violence in Kosovo. The report, he said, was an attempt to divert attention from the failure of OSCE's and the United Nations' policies in Kosovo.

“It looks like politicians are letting themselves off the hook over policies and actions that are the root causes of violence," he said.

He added that regimes in countries like Belarus, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan - where journalists are often held responsible for failed policy - may be comforted to see that the OSCE shares their concerns about irresponsible media.

IFJ: http://www.ifj.org/default.asp?Index=2523&Language=EN.

 

source:  IJNet#260
published by: Daniela Mathis dma@medienhilfe.ch date of release on this site 09/06/04 

 

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