Letter: War is always nasty

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Barry White and others (letter, 17 April) protest against the idea of Serbian television being forced to broadcast daily up to six hours of "Western reports", and ask whether the people in this country would not be outraged if a foreign state tried to "control the contents of our own media".

The trouble with this parallel is that "our own media" are fully open to outside information and reports, while the Serbian ones are fully closed. The British can follow TV and radio broadcasts by non-British stations, including Serbian, and buy newspapers in a variety of languages, including Serbian. No one here censors the reports filed by Robert Fisk and John Simpson or the comments penned by John Pilger. The Serbians living in this country can organise demonstrations, publish letters in the newspapers and give interviews to radio and television. Serbian journalists are free to come and send their reports without hindrance.

None of this is possible in Serbia. There the media is fully censored and reports only the government's point of view. As a result most Serbians have no idea what is happening in Kosovo or why Nato is dropping bombs. It would be of great benefit to the population of Serbia to see some of the pictures we daily see on our TV screens.

BRANKA MAGAS

London W10

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