Letter: Collateral casualty

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The Independent Culture
Sir: On Sunday Nato admitted the bomb attack upon a bridge which led to the destruction of a bus, and the loss of life. What Nato did not do was confirm the Serb claims about the number of deaths or accept their claims that this was a civilian bus. We do not know. Similarly, barred from real investigation inside Kosovo, nor do the media.

Where Nato is responsible, it says so. The Serbs have a record of fabrication, of inventing incidents (such as the dropping of napalm bombs) and of misrepresenting and exploiting others. I was surprised therefore that you led your Kosovo coverage on 4 May on the Serb claims, barely qualified, of another attack upon a bus with the unproven claim of 20 deaths prominent in the headline.

This is exactly what the Serbs would have hoped for when they put out their report. Day after day, they lie about what is happening in Kosovo. It is important that the media treats their claims with caution. Nato will continue to spell out the facts about its military action. We cannot be expected to be a rebuttal service for a Serb-controlled media that day after day puts out invented stories about downed planes, captured soldiers and attacks upon schools, hospitals and old people's homes.

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL

Chief Press Secretary

10 Downing Street

London SW1

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