Don't hide reality of war, says Tusa

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The Independent Online
War's "ghastly reality" must not be hidden from British television viewers, the broadcaster John Tusa said last night at the second Rory Peck Award for freelance cameramen.

"Bloodstains on the ground or a small crater are wholly inadequate substitutes for the actuality of multiple killings. It is an evasion to say that they are and a misuse of the bravery of camera-crews and journalists, whether freelance or not, to say that they are.

"We must avoid a pornography of violence, where networks start to compete with one another in the amount of gore that they show," said Mr Tusa, a former head of the BBC World Service.

"But when some viewers complain about violence on the news, when it is an essential part of the knowledge needed to assess what is happening, I believe the only answer to complainants is to say: 'I'm sorry, we will not censor the ghastly reality, for that is the only way that you, the voters, the citizens, can be properly informed about the world around us.'

"Is there not a mismatch between our comparative tolerance about violence as an essential component of TV entertainment and our restraint and constraints in presenting the violence of the world around us?"

Mr Tusa said television needed a regular programme in which a journalist who had followed a crisis or war should be allowed to present an in-depth documentary.

The Rory Peck Award was won by Jane Kokan, a 34-year-old Canadian, for her account of the last big battle of the Bosnian war.