Sunday, March 07, 2004

News, Speed and Integrity

One day in Spring 1996 Večernji list (Vecernji list), daily newspaper from Zagreb, published an article about US Commerce secretary Ron Brown flying to Zagreb from Dubrovnik and meeting with top Croatian officials.

The article wasn't different from many boring displays of protocols having a royal treatment in Croatian media during Tudjman's years. The difference was, however, in article contradicting the issue's front page. Ron Brown and his entourage didn't make it to Zagreb. Their plane crashed into mountain shortly after take-off resulting in the most spectacular such incident in history of modern Croatia.

The article in question was later used as one of the more telling examples of media losing its standards under authoritarian governments.

However, such things can happen even in seemingly more enlightened countries of liberal democracy. I was reminded of 1996 anecdote after reading about the way some US networks tried to break news of Martha Stewart's acquittal.


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