Duty to publish

Having seen the numerous letters (11 March), all but one from the United States, upbraiding you for not censoring Samantha Power's remarks about Hillary, the "monster" Clinton, I think you were right to publish a remark which clearly was not off the record. Indeed, I would say that ethical journalism would require that you do so.

The results of a compliant press are not pretty. For example, it is now known that during the Rambouillet meeting prior to the Yugoslav bombing, the US secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, held a genuinely off-the-record briefing of most of the western media to tell them that it was not the Yugoslavs who were being intransigent over Kosovo but the US government because they deliberately felt "the Serbs need a little bombing" and "what is the use of having the world's best military when you don't get to use them?"

The western media, with virtual unanimity, decided not merely to accept the off the record nature of her statements, but to lie, as instructed, and blame the Serbs, leading to a war in which 80 per cent of NATO's victims were civilians and which brought about genocide and the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo.

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The responsibility of the press not to censor itself is a heavy one and I am glad that in this case The Scotsman showed journalistic integrity.


Woodlands Road