MEDIA ALERT UPDATE: MEDIA ALERT: ‘YOU COULD KILL WHOEVER YOU WANTED’
War Crimes And The Struggle For Truth
An ancient Roman aphorism made a crucial point: “The senators are good men, but the senate is a beast.” In the same way, no matter how deeply media corporations may be compromised by profit-orientation and links to establishment power, some journalists will always be willing to respond reasonably to criticism.
On March 30, a Media Lens reader challenged the BBC’s World Affairs Correspondent, Paul Reynolds, about his article reviewing the possibility of a US attack on Iran. Our reader, noting that Reynolds had made no mention of the illegality, or otherwise, of a US attack, asked:
“How can you find space to discuss the operational considerations of a mission but not the implication for international law?” (Darren Smith, email forwarded, March 30, 2006)
Within a matter of hours, the following paragraph had been appended to Reynolds’ article on the BBC website:
“Of course, the legality of any attack would be hard to justify. The British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told reporters this week: ‘I don’t happen to believe that military action has a role to play in any event. We could not justify it under Article 51 of the UN charter which permits self defence.'” (Paul Reynolds, ‘Will US use Iran military option?’, March 30, 2006; https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4860492.stm)
One reader, writing one reasonable and rational email, had made a difference. Paul Reynolds told us:
“I often respond to readers’ suggestions and this was one such. As was obvious, the piece was more about the military and political issues but I did feel on reflection that I should not leave out legality entirely.” (Email, March 31, 2006)
This willingness to respond honestly to criticism is admirable.
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