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freedom of the press

        By the time the war in Yugoslavia exploded on to the scene,
most of the combatants had hired North American public relations
firms to spin their case to the public.
        One Washington-based firm continues to brag on its Web site
that it successfully introduced the hot terms "holocaust, genocide,
ethnic cleansing, and concentration camps" to the lexicon of
journalists covering the war.
        And so we arrive at the current war in the Balkans and yet
another variation on the theme. The international media in the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia are concentrated in Belgrade in
general, and the Hyatt Hotel in particular.
        We all watch international and local television, monitor the radio
and newspapers, and interview local citizens and government
officials when we have the opportunity. The remainder of our
colleagues are located in neighbouring countries such as Macedonia
and Albania, with a few in Yugoslavia's Montenegro.
        By now you will probably have recognized the uniqueness of the
reporting on this particular conflict: Absolutely no one, on either
side, is reporting from where the actual fighting and alleged human
abuses are taking place: In Kosovo.   

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