Journalists Testifying at War Crimes Tribunals. (Words & Reflections)
Should journalists who cover war be required to testify before tribunals in which cases involving those accused of war crimes are heard? A December 2002 ruling by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia clarified that reporters cannot routinely be subpoenaed. But this ruling did not end debate among journalists about whether they should testify, even ff not forced to do so.
Some who have reported on war crimes share their perspectives about various journalistic and ethical issues that arise. Nina Bernstein, now a New York Times reporter, writes about when she was asked to provide evidence from reporting she did in Bosnia in 1992 for Newsday. That request--and her consideration of it--led to an abiding interest in this issue, which she written about for the Times. Here she describes her experience and the reaction of other journalists to it. Excerpts follow from a brief filed by a coalition of news organizations to argue against the court's ability to compel journalists to testify. Roy Gutman, whose reporting for Newsday disclosed systematic killing at concentration camps in northern Bosnia, urges journalists to report more about how the tribunal process treats journalists and what happens when journalists testify. Excerpts from his witness statement and Boston Globe reporter Elizabeth Neuffer's affidavit accompany his story.
Lindsey Hilsum, diplomatic correspondent for Britain's Channel 4 news, explains her decision to testify about her reporting in Rwanda and describes why British reporters are more likely to agree to testify than are their American counterparts. …