Al-Amiriya, February 13, 1991DBroadcasting Standards of Violence in a Time of
author: Geri M. Alumit
address: 2349 Coyote Creek Dr.
Okemos, MI 48864
ph. #: (517) 381-9757
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British television news stations used graphic video during its coverage of the
al-Amiriya bombings in Baghdad, Iraq on February 13, 1991. This study uses oral
histories, video archive footage and document research to recreate the news
coverage on that day and to analyze why the level of violence depicted on TV did
not insult Britain's viewing audience.
On the evening of February 13, 1991, viewers of Independent Television
Network's (ITN) News at Ten, witnessed the first horrifying pictures of the Gulf
War. Viewers saw a building with smoke piping out of it and wondered if there
were any casualties inside. They had no idea what carnage awaited to be
discovered. ITN's Brent Sadler began his report like this: "If there was one
place of safety to survive the blitz of Baghdad, it should have been this
purpose built shelter." (News at Ten, 1991). Around 4 a.m. Iraqi time, two
laser-guided bombs hit a reinforced building in the al-Amiriya district of
Baghdad, Iraq, killing anywhere up to 500 Iraqi civilians who had taken shelter
inside. By late afternoon, officials said the bodies of 288 people, mostly
women and children, were recovered. (Facts on File, 1991)
Many around the world shuddered as they watched charred bodies being carried
out of the smoldering bunker, and as they listened to badly burned survivors
being interviewed. But in England, many shuddered for a different reason.
Instead of being incensed with the excessively violent nature of the bombing
coverage, the British public was concerned with the standards of broadcasting
impartial coverage. This paper will go behind the scenesDusing oral histories
of producers, reporters and cameramanDto reconstruct television coverage of the
al-Amiriya bombings and to explore why the British public was not offended by
the carnage they viewed on television that day.
Statement of Question
Did the British television media's coverage of the al-Amiriya bombings in
Baghdad, Iraq on February 13, 1991 go against the Broadcasting Standards
Council's (BSC) broadcasting viewing standards as it relates to violence? Why
were the complaints dropped? Were some of the reasons for the complaints and
the responses given for airing the footage on the bombing carefully thought out?
And what have we learned about the British television media and its viewers from
its performance on this story?
Shaw and Carr-Hill (Mowlana, 1992) used the footage from the Baghdad shelter
bombings to measure the media's attitude toward the Gulf War. When faced with
"visually explicit and ideologically questioning coverage of the Baghdad
shelter" most respondents agreed that media outlets in Britain made the right
decision to show the images of death and violence.
In the Persian Gulf TV War, Kellner (1992) discusses how George Bush
manipulated the media. Kellner says the bombing of the supposed Iraqi
command-and-control center in al-Amiriya was just one example of how the U.S.
military used "quick, immediate, bold, bald-faced lies to hide their crimes."
In War and the Media, Taylor (1992) documents the role of the media and the
ways both sides of the conflict used the media to influence public opinion.
Taylor details all of the significant events of the war, one being the bombing
of the al-Amiriya shelter, to illustrate the relationship between the media and
the military. Taylor shows how media stories depend on cooperating with the
military and how the media in general in all countries supported their country's
political stance during the war. Taylor also concludes that the public's
response to the al-Amiriya bombings showed that the public would rather not see
the realities of war and therefore, television did not give its viewers the full
MacGregor (1994), one of Taylor's colleagues at the University of Leeds,
studied how 12 different television services in five countries covered the
al-Amiriya tragedy. The reporting of this event showed the similarities and
differences between the news values, styles, and "underlying editorial
practices in different broadcasting cultures."
Lastly, Morrison (1992) also of the University of Leeds, conducted a major
study of the Gulf War. One of the questions he pursued was "How 'real' the
viewers thought the presentation of war ought to be." After watching the news
bulletins from ITN, British Broadcasting Company's (BBC,) footage from French
Television and explicitly graphic pictures used by World Television Network
(WTN), the study's participants agreed that ITN and BBC used an adequate amount
of images to report the al-Amiriya bombings. As Taylor also concluded in his
book, Morrison concluded that British viewers would prefer to keep the horrors,
the realities of war off their television screens.
As the viewers continued to watch Sadler's report, they saw a hole punched into
the top of a concrete structure. Broken metal rods poked toward the core of the
hole, giving it a jagged inside edge. The picture zoomed out and panned down to
an even larger hole. The hole was almost the height of the Iraqi man who was
staring down it, perhaps he was wondering how many people in the Earth below
felt the bomb's wrath. Sadler reported:
It was clearly hit twice because the points of the bomb entry through
thick, reinforced concrete, were unmistakable. The explosion at one end of
the bunker turned the structure into a giant furnace, incinerating those
inside. (News at Ten , 1991)
During the last four words, two men carried a body in a blanket. In two
seconds, the viewer saw a peek of what was maybe the head of a badly burnt
civilian. Thirty seconds later, the footage, which Sadler describes, was
unmistakable. As Sadler reported:
The regime is already using these disturbing scenes of trauma to attack
the allied coalition for the on-going aerial bombardments. At one hospital,
staff are trying to arrange the dismembered corpses into something
recognizable. Most of these people may never be identified.
During this 17-second passage, four pictures were shown. One of the pictures,
an Iraqi man crying, lasted for four seconds. The remainder of this time showed
the same scene, rows of charred bodies, taken from three different angles.
The day after the bombing, the Daily Mail, reported that the switchboards were
jammed following Jeremy Bowen's report on the BBC's Nine o'clock News:
From inside the devastated shelter, Bowen spoke of 'the sickly smell of
burnt human flesh' and the 'many bodies obviously children.' Although
subsequent Iraqi reports spoke of far fewer victims, he said: "There are up
to 500 more bodies to bring out."
Two days after the bombing the Daily Express reported that "there was particular
resentment over the BBC's Nine O'clock News, which showed harrowing scenes of
the injured and dead. Several days later the same newspaper reported, "The BBC
and ITN have been inundated with protests about reports from Baghdad." Lord
Rees Mogg, council chair of the broadcast watchdog, BSC, said, "Feelings have
been running very high. Undoubtedly the scenes of the bombed bunker were
shocking. This is certainly the issue which viewers are most concerned about."
Lord Rees was mistaken. The complaints to the news stations and the BSC fell
into two different categories. Several viewers were concerned, as Lord Rees
Mogg states, with the "scenes of the bombed bunker," the violence that was
portrayed by those scenes. However, what viewers were most concerned about was
what the use of those scenes meant, which was that they believed British
reporters were being used to transmit Iraqi-motivated reports. The Daily
Express reported that the BSC received more than 20 complaints, and dozens more
are arriving. On 19 February 1991, the Daily Mail, quoted Lord Rees Mogg, as
saying, "The number of complaints has been unprecedented." In the same article,
it reported the Prime Minister's press secretary Gus O'Donnel had called John
Birt, the BBC's deputy director-general, to reprimand the BBC for its "graphic
reports." Mogg said, the BSC received more complaints about the BBC than it
rival ITN because the BBC was supposedly inconsistent in warning its viewers
that its reports were subject to Iraqi censorship.
Despite the fact that the BSC received more complaints about the graphic nature
of the violence from the video shown from the al-Amiriya bombings than it had
from any other broadcasted item, it was dwarfed by the number of complaints of
bias received by the news services themselves. The Daily Telegraph, 29 February
1991, said most of the 300 calls to the BBC and 200 to ITN, complained that the
"pictures of wounded civilians constituted Iraqi propaganda." And article in
the Times, 15 February 1991, several weeks earlier, also reported these figures.
It however, gave context to this number of calls by quoting a BBC spokesman.
The 300 complaints received from the broadcasts on the al-Amiriya bombings on
February 13, 1991 were "very modest, especially compared to the thousands of
complaints received about scheduling changes and extended war coverage in the
first week of the war."
The other newly established statutory board, the Independent Television
Commission (ITC) did not hear any complaints about the coverage of the bombing.
The ITC, which enforces a code over the portrayal of violence and due
impartiality, would have been able to address the concerns of those angered over
the coverage of the bombing. Suzanne Prance, ITC's press officer, said she knew
of no complaints. She did say however, that there was lengthy discussion in the
press about the angles taken by the reporters from ITN and the BBC. In the
Daily Mail, 15 February 1991, it said the "watchdog Independent Television
Commission described ITN reports as 'excellent.'" A possible reason for no or
very few complaints may be because the ITC wasn't up and running until its first
meeting in April of that year.
The other newly-established standards board was definitely up and running at
the time, but it did show signs that it was in the development stage. In the
Independent, 19 February 1991, it states that the BSC decided yesterday that it
did not have the power to rule whether the BBC and ITN were helping to spread
Iraqi propaganda. When the BSC was receiving complaints on the coverage of the
al-Amiriya bombings, they were not clear as to what their role may be.
Although not considering the many complaints it had received about this
aspect of the coverage, the Council will rule on whether the news footage
contains scenes of excessive violence and horror, especially at family
viewing times. This, it believed, comes within its remit.
As reported on 14 March 1991, by the Times, the Broadcasting Standards Council
rejected 22 complaints, including TV coverage of the bombing of the Baghdad
bunker. Earlier press coverage by the Daily Express and the Daily Mail
suggested that the number of complaints to the BSC on the al-Amiriya bombings
alone were going to be at least 20 if not much more. Since the BSC was still
deciding clearly what was within its remit, it may have included the complaints
about news bias in early reports, such as those in the Daily Mail and Daily
Out of the 22 complaints heard by the BSC in March, only three concerned the
graphic nature of the video from the al-Amiriya bombing. The BSC listed the
name of one man, a Mr. Michael O'Connor of Surrey and referred to two other
unnamed viewers as the complainants in its March 1991 edition of the BSC
Bulletin. They all complained about how BBC and ITN news reported on the Allied
bombing of the air-raid shelter. The Bulletin said Mr. O' Connor was
specifically upset with the news bulletins broadcast at lunchtime and in the
early evening. In his written complaint Mr. O' Connor wrote the "scenes were
too graphic, distressing and bloody" to be seen by the children watching at
Cameraman Phil Bly and producer Angela Fryer were in Baghdad the morning the
missiles hit the air raid shelter in the al-Amiriya district. Together with
Brent Sadler they carefully assessed the situation. Bly and Jordanian cameraman
began shooting footage of the carnage and then began sending it back to London.
Nik Gowing, who was covering the bombings from London for ITN at the time, who
is now a presenter for the BBC, remembers seeing the rushes or the uncut video
being fed via satellite from al-Amiriya that morning, "There's no doubt that a
lot of the pictures coming in were showing essentially hunks of barbecued meat,"
referring to the video bombing victims.
With 25 minutes before the noon newscast, Gowing had to write and edit a
two-minute package. He said many of the pictures were untransmittable and no
one was available at the time to help him cut the video, "I remember it as one
of the toughest decisions I've taken on because of the fears about decency or
indecency of those pictures." With ten minutes to go before noon, Gowing
summoned the editor at the time, Richard Tate (now the editor-and-chief of ITN)
to make sure the pictures he was using weren't offensive.
Gowing said he didn't think of the BSC's Code specifically when he was cutting
or writing his video. His internal guide came from his sense of "common taste
standards" developed from working in television news for over 25 years. "It's
an instinct. You don't forget it. It's in your system." Gowing said ideally
the editor sees the finished work, but sometimes when the deadline does not
allow it, this is not possible. Gowing said it was the job of the journalist to
gather the information and the job of the editor is to see if the report is
acceptable. Gowing believes editors are "thoughtful" of the BSC Code, "They
have to be, their jobs depend on it." Gowing said the pictures were violent,
but he cut them in such a way that they weren't excessively violent. In fact
they weren't violent at all compared to what viewers were about to see at 12:47
GMT, when Brent Sadler's report from Baghdad was going to air.
ITN was the first British news service to use graphic pictures of the carnage
from al-Amiriya. Sadler's report contained pictures of people grieving outside
and of the interior of the shelter. From inside the shelter Sadler watched a
body being brought out in a blanket: "I think it was a woman." (Taylor, 1992)
Bly, who had filmed the footage and who had helped edit the report said he
believed the pictures were objective. Bly said the editorial process has
several layers. The first layer is with the cameraman. Bly says he works under
his own sense of common taste and decency standards and he knows, from being a
cameraman for more than 15 years that you don't film excessively violence scenes
because they will never be shown on British TV.
You are aware that you're there and eight million people (British viewers)
can't possibly witness it themselves. As the cameraman, you are the eye for
eight million people. And I am mindful of what I can and what can't be
Bly and Fryer said the close-up, gratuitously violent pictures of the charred
bodies that were being transmitted to London were taken by the Jordanian
After all the pictures are shot, the process of editing is in the hands of the
reporter. In the Gulf War, the next layer of censorship was by the Iraqi
Ministry of Information. Fryer said when they arrived in Baghdad several at the
onset of the war, they were briefed by the Ministry of Information on what they
could and could not film:
We were urged that you don't report on anything that will endanger national
security. You do not film troop movements. Under the circumstances, you had
to operate under some restrictions and these were reasonable.
Bly said all of their reports were seen by Iraqi minders, but they did very
Unless they (Iraqi minders) would see a building in a shot that they knew
had something to do with the military, they didn't cut it out. There were
certain buzzwords we couldn't say such as Iraqi regime, it would have to
Iraqi government or Iraqi people.
Covering the al-Amiriya was different. The Iraqi minders did not ask to see the
coverage that day. The next level of censorship was back in London at ITN,
where much more censorship than what the Iraqi 'minders' were doing, was usually
After the broadcast at 12:47 GMT, management from ITN called Bly and Fryer and
told them to stop broadcasting dying babies and bombed buildings. "They simply
didn't want to know about collateral damage here," Bly said. "it was against
the war effort. I think we were lucky to get out as much as we could." With
this in mind, the whole ITN news crew, Bly, Fryer and Sadler, were not surprised
when the war was over with, with the news they received about their coverage of
the al-Amiriya bombings. As Bly relates, Stewart Purvis, the editor of ITN
greeted the crew and took Sadler aside and told him,
'When you go back to London you are going to have quite a lot of criticism
for presenting the Iraqi side.' And we thought we were being objective. In
retrospect we were. Brent was constantly putting qualifying statements in.
We bent over backwards to present the news in as...
he, and all of the broadcasters did an acceptable job. In response to the three
complaints, the Council cited section 1 (c) of the Code of Practice. This is
under the section 'Violence in News and Current Affairs,' and subtitled under
'Degrees of Explicitness':
Where scenes of violence are necessarily included in television bulletins,
the fact that violence has bloody consequences should not be glossed over.
However, it is not for the broadcaster to impose a moral judgment on the
audience and care should be taken not to linger on the casualties nor on the
bloody evidence of violence.
In Phillip Taylor's Propaganda and Persuasion in the Gulf War, he writes about
ITN having the first pictures. Sadler's report, shown at 12:47 GMT, had shots
that were "quite graphic, though not gratuitously dwelling." Others may argue
that showing the pictures at all were in poor taste. And yet others may argue
that keeping those pictures on for more than two seconds, which was the case in
Sadler's report, it becomes gratuitous. The judging of gratuity is subjective.
Because this is the case, the need for a code which may restrict the length of a
graphic picture may be useful. In the absence of such an objective code, the
judgment of the Broadcasting Standards Council which is made up of eight
members, is relied upon.
As customary for the Council during the review of a complaint, its members
viewed the bulletins in question. The Council reported that in each case, the
images used were largely of a similar kind. The commentaries differed between
the reports, but not significantly.
As state in the Bulletin, while viewing the video the Council saw scenes of
distressed relatives outside the shelter, pictures of rescue teams inside the
building and statements by Iraqis. Although there were pictures of blankets
described as containing the remains of victims, there were no shots of exposed
What was not listed in the Bulletin was that in Sadler's report a shot of a
victim being carried out in a blanket revealed a charred body lying within the
blanket. Sadler brought more meaning to the photo when he said, "I think it was
a woman." The Bulletin also failed to mention that there were shots of two of
the survivors used in Sadler's report that were especially graphic. Both of the
survivors were young boys who were badly burned, their bodies covered with sores
and blisters. Nevertheless, the BSC Council members must have felt these shots
were not particularly disturbing since they did not mention them. ?
As customary, after viewing the video, the BSC asked the broadcasters to give
details of its editorial policy and opened up the opportunity for them to
respond to particular aspects of the complaint. ITN responded by writing to the
It weighed the need to protect the child audience against the public
interest in the reporting of a story arousing international concern and
controversy. Accordingly, the BBC took a similar view and provided a warning
before the pictures were shown.
In BBC's first newscast to show human carnage was at 13:00 GMT, February 13,
1991. Before the video was shown, the presenter, Michael Buerk warned, "the
report may contain scenes which you may find distressing." The report showed
the bodies at a distance and also displayed distressed relatives. When the
video stopped abruptly Buerk finished the report by saying, "Many of the
pictures coming from Baghdad of burned civilian bodies are considered too
dreadful to show you." Some may argue even a caveat warning viewers seconds
before the video airs is not enough time to get children out of the room, or
does not alert children, when not specifically addressed to them, of the graphic
nature of the pictures. The Council felt, however, that the need to show the
pictures in order to illustrate the damage of the bombings to the al-Amiriya
shelter outweighed whatever emotional damage the pictures may cause to children.
The Bulletin stated that the Council considered this story, which at that stage
of the war seemed to be of the greatest importance, with its potential effect on
public opinion throughout the world, had been handled responsibly by the two
organizations, with due regard for the consideration urged in the Council's Code
of Practice. The Council therefore decided not to uphold the complaint.
The BSC also received a number of other complaints about the coverage of the
Gulf War, including complaints about bias and propaganda, which were clearly
outside its remit. The exact number of complaints is unknown. But the number
of complaints to the news organization is known. (As mentioned in the
"Research" section) The news organizations collectively received around 500
Most of the calls criticized the reporters for broadcasting Iraqi propaganda.
An ITN operator referred to the overwhelming viewer response in the Sun, 14
February 1991: "It's the biggest since Ken Barlow threatened suicide on
Coronation Street." editor's note on event In the days following the bombing
of the bunker and before BSC's decision on the complaints on the bunker
coverage, criticism of how ITN and BBC reporters handled the story, was
discussed in the press.
Much of the criticism, once again concerned the British media being used as
mouthpieces for Saddam Hussein, but there was some discussion on how the story
was covered pictorially. Several articles in the press were written by ITN and
BBC editors in response to complaints about running graphic pictures of the
bombing. Immediate responses by the broadcasters' spokes people were brief and
didn't offer much explanation as to why they used graphic pictures and as to why
they had crews in Baghdad at all. In the Sun, 14 February 1991, a spokesperson
said, "The pictures were distressing, but it's important to show them. The
incident is a major development." An ITN spokesperson said, "It's important you
get information from as many sources as possible, including Baghdad."
An article written by Tony Hall, then the director of BBC News and Current
Affairs, went to greater detail on why television crews and why the reports were
handled in the manner they were handled, were given. This article was in
response to earlier reports in the Guardian that told about how a couple members
from the House of Commons and several people who wrote letter in the opinion
section were particularly upset with the biased coverage of the war. Those
letters criticized the BBC as well as ITN news journalists in Baghdad of being
"led around by the nose and transmitting Iraqi propaganda."
In his article, Hall said one of the reasons for broadcasting the scenes from
last Wednesday's bunker tragedy was that the pictures would have made it to
British households whether they were the ones transmitting them or not. Hall
went on to write about guidelines.
We do not think it is enough simply to remind them at the beginning of the
report. If the Iraqi censors interfere with our story-telling, we make it
clear at the appropriate point within the body of the piece. On the day of
the bombing in Baghdad these restrictions 'were pointed up on the one
o'clock, six o'clock, and nine o'clock news.
This goes against some of the reports in the press. As pointed out in the
"Research" section, the BSC fielded more telephone complaints on the BBC and ITN
because the BBC did not consistently mention before its bulletins that they were
working under Iraqi restrictions.
An article in the Sunday Telegraph, 17 February 1991, talked about how a phone
call from Downing Street right before the Nine O'clock News, asked the BBC to
tell the viewers of the reporting restrictions in Iraq before showing the
horrific pictures of the bombed bunker in Baghdad yesterday. The British
government wanted to remind viewers "that the cameras would not have been
allowed to film freely unless it was to help the Iraqi propaganda campaign."
Shouldn't freely suggest that there were no restrictions? If cameras are
allowed to film whatever they would like and the Iraqi 'minders' had no input on
what was actually broadcast, suggest that there were no restrictions at all?
In the Independent, 19 February 1991, Dr. Phillip Taylor, a member of a team of
academics monitoring 130 hours per day of Gulf War coverage at the Institute of
Communication Studies at the University of Leeds confirms that there were no
Iraqi restrictions the day of the bombing:
The Iraqis lifted all censorship restrictions in the hope that the charred,
mutilated bodies which crews filmed would serve the purpose, which critics
now maintain happened anyway. But both BBC and ITN self-censored the
pictures from Baghdad, and British viewers were allowed to see only a
sanitized view of the real horror. What is new in so far as television
images are concerned is that very little, if any official post-censorship
appears to be going on - other than the kind of editorializing and
self-censorship which newsrooms conduct themselves.
This goes against why a caveat was used before the bulletins. Since there were
no restrictions or direct input from the Iraqi minders on what should be aired,
a caveat should not be used to imply that there was. This passage is also
saying that there wasn't extra care taken to make sure that the pictures used
weren't offensive. Although from some of the accounts of reporters, it did
sound like they tried to be as careful in picking what footage was used as they
In the Guardian, 3 March 1991, Brent Sadler, ITN's reporter in Baghdad, said he
handled the bombing of the al-Amiriya shelter with care and precision, wary of
what this may do as a "weapon for Iraqi propaganda." He said
From al-Amiriya cam a gruesome spectacle of human loss. I accidentally
walked through the corpses of charred victims, saw blackened remains of
children shatter and disintegrate on a mortuary floor.
Sadler had to wade through these horrific pictures and choose the least
horrifying. Stewart Purvis, Editor of ITN at the time, said much of the
criticism aimed at the reporters were unjustified. In the Sunday Express, 17
February 1991, Purvis said the impact of the scenes from the bombing were "so
overwhelming that an emotional scattergun has since been directed at the
correspondents whose grim job it was to witness those scenes." Purvis said the
correspondents did the best job and made the best decision they possibly could
under the circumstances.
Others, like Michael Hickling of the Yorkshire Post, on 7 March 1991, agreed
ITN and BBC did a good job in covering the bombing. In his critique of the TV
war effort he said,
In spite of jibes about the Baghdad Broadcasting Company, the BBC and ITV
self-censured themselves in a responsible way. They were, of course,
sensitive to the charge that their pictures from Iraq were a conduit for
enemy propaganda. The bombing of the Baghdad bunker is the clearest
illustration of self- censorship.
The Institute (of Communication Studies at Leeds University) has the full tape
of the scenes transmitted after the air raid. Much of the footage
untransmittable. There were rows of blackened, limbless bodies and uncovered
corpses placed on stretchers. Those pictures that did make it to British
household were only a piece of the real horror. British viewers were spared
explicitly gruesome footage.
As Nik Gowing said in response to the number of complaints received by ITN, BBC
and BSC, "If you're in a war you've got to expect that's going to happen. That
means there were many millions who didn't complain." The number of calls taken
as a result of the bombing dwarfed the number of calls taken from people who
were upset with the Gulf War footage interfering with local programming. And
for some, the number of calls received from the bombing, was not significant.
Steve Whittle, the chair of BSC says there weren't a lot of complaints because
most people were pretty "gung-ho" about the war. There wasn't a public outcry I
think because at the end people were realistic enough to recognize that war does
actually kill people and it actually kills civilians. Here the public mood was
that it was a just war. If it had been a Vietnam-type situation, there would
obviously be a great deal more of an outcry.
The human carnage that was shown as a result of the bombing of an air-raid
shelter in the al-Amiriya district of Baghdad, Iraq caused only a small number
of people to write formal complaints to the BSC. This is compared to the
hundreds of calls received by ITN, BBC and the BSC on the biased nature of the
reporting on the bombing. The difference in the number of calls between the two
complaint categories tells a little bit about the audience's news values.
British viewers were much more concerned about airing Iraqi propaganda than with
the portrayal of violence in this particular instance.
What was unclear about the presentation of the reports was the use of the
caveat "compiled under Iraqi restrictions," before each of the news bulletins.
That day, for the first time in the war, the restrictions were lifted. Articles
in the press suggested that the BBC used the caveat before their Nine o' Clock
News in order to appease the government. Articles written by ITN and BBC
editors mentioned their use, but did not address why they were being used. It
can be argued that the use of this caveat lifted some of the burdens of what was
being said and shown from their shoulders and onto those of Iraqi censurers.
As discussed, the BSC, along with many experts believe the violence depicted in
the al-Amiriya was acceptable and didn't go beyond broadcasting standards. What
was interesting was the construction of the reports. This process showed that
reporters, editors and cameramen rely on their own standards to avoid visually
aggravating scenes of violence. Fryer and Bly's accounts of the war are
eye-opening. They along with Gowing were mindful of the Broadcasting Standards
Council's Code, but they relied on their perception of their audience and their
own instincts to guide their editorial decision making.
Another compelling though brought out by their accounts was that broadcasting
standards in times of war can not be specifically articulated or measured.
Hopefully, no standards for times of war will have to be drawn out, but the
research to developing them could prove to be thought-provoking and
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