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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Presenting To The World a Fair and Unbiased View of Events

30 October, 2008
For the vast majority of us, the news media, whether online, broadcast or printed, are our window on the world, because we cannot physically be present and witness occurrences for ourselves.


And when the media report upon defense events including the customary soundbites from the front line, we have no alternative but to take their word as gospel. Situations are rarely black-and-white, as simplified by ace reporters filling two-minute slots, but rather shades of grey. For example, were war crimes committed in the 2008 South Ossetia war, and who were the aggressors – the Russians or the Georgians ? All we know for sure is that it was a land, sea and air conflict between Georgia on one side, and Russia, Russian South Ossetian and Abkhazian paramilitaries on the other. A civil war fought after the break-up of the Soviet Union had left parts of South Ossetia in control of an unrecognised separatist government backed by Russia, whilst other parts remained in control of Georgia. A complex picture indeed. Mixing metaphors, it is difficult to take a stance unless you have an axe to grind and are therefore prejudiced towards one party or the other. We all know that the first casualty of war is truth, as was amply demonstrated during two World Wars. However, the speed nowadays at which news reports and pictures are flashed around the globe makes neutrality, fairness and accuracy even more important, so that people and governments do not undertake a precipitate, knee-jerk reaction of any kind based on misinformation and unwarranted assumptions.


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