Letter: Nato's war on TV

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The Independent Culture
ireSir: We unreservedly condemn Nato's deliberate bombing of a working television and radio station in Belgrade on 23 April.

Nato has argued that previous civilian casualties were the result of accidental "collateral damage". In this case, however, Nato deliberately targeted civilian journalists and media workers by bombing a television station with staff present in the building. This means that Nato decided to treat media workers as "legitimate targets".

Moreover it did so having previously given a written commitment to the International Federation of Journalists that it would avoid civilian casualties, including journalists.

The federation was right to point out: "Killing journalists and media staff never wins wars or builds democracy, it only reinforces ignorance, censorship and fear. Nato's actions must severely compromise the fight for freedom of the press and freedom of expression, not just in Europe, but world-wide."

Irrespective of our own perceptions, there can be no doubt that not only the state media in Belgrade but virtually all of the opponents of the current regime there oppose Nato bombing. Such views cannot be suppressed by bombs.

The consequences of Nato's actions for freedom of speech and the lives of journalists and other media workers will be incalculable. By targeting Yugoslavia's media, because it does not like their coverage of this war, Nato has set a grave precedent.




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