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'We were right to question orphanage story' - SVT

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11:06 CEST+02:00
SVT's evening news team responds to Billy McCormac's criticism of its coverage of Iraq published in The Local earlier this week.

In his article, McCormac argued that Swedish public television should not have cast doubt on a legitimate story of US soldiers and their Iraqi allies uncovering fresh evidence of the horrific criminality of the ousted regime.

The images were extremely disturbing and powerful; they showed American soldiers entering an orphanage in Iraq, where they found a group of children who were starving and clearly suffering pain.

We at Aktuellt decided late in the afternoon to broadcast the images on the 9pm news.

As the footage was captured by American troops at war, rather than a journalist, it was treated with extra care. This is imperative when dealing with sources that are not independent.

We also decided to include in our news broadcast a discussion of the fact that images may be used for propaganda purposes by parties to war. There is certainly no lack of historical precedents.

For this reason we asked Karin Becker, a professor of journalism at Stockholm University, to evaluate the footage from Iraq and the role it might play in the ongoing conflict. Karin Becker reinforced the assessment that the media should treat with caution any materials received from parties to war.

But regardless of the argument about the images themselves, our reporter Stina Blomgren pointed at the end of the segment to the fact that the images provided a grim reminder of the dire consequences of the war for the children of Iraq.

Eva Landahl

Managing Editor, Aktuellt, SVT News

Bengt Persson

Foreign Editor, SVT News

Stina Blomgren

Reporter, SVT News

Translation: Paul O'Mahony

See also: Swedish television viewers sold short on Iraq

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