Institute for War and Peace Reporting

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Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) is a journalist training and news media support organization focusing on the Balkans, Afghanistan, and the former Soviet Union.


According to the IWPR website:

The Institute for War & Peace Reporting strengthens local journalism in areas of conflict. By training reporters, facilitating dialogue and providing reliable information, it supports peace, democracy and development in societies undergoing crisis and change.

IWPR runs major programmes in Afghanistan, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Iraq. Also we are managing a special reporting project on war crimes tribunals. The Institute maintains offices in Almaty, Baku, Belgrade, Bishkek, The Hague, Kabul, Pristina, Sarajevo, Skopje, Tashkent, Tbilisi and Dushanbe with representatives in Tirana, Vladikavkaz and Yerevan.
Field offices build local networks, engage in extensive training and editing, and host practical workshops and discussion sessions. Coordination and intensive expert support is provided by IWPR's training, editing and logistics team, based in London.[1]

Questions about its activities

Prof. Edward Herman has often criticized the New York Times's biased reporting of the wars in the Balkans, and in particular the coverage of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, its proceedings, and the trial of Slobodan Milosevic. Herman analyzed 120 articles written by the NYT's correspondent, Marlise Simons, and concludes that she has adopted a frame to push the pro-NATO interpretation of events in the former Yugoslavia and the activities of the court. In the course of reporting on the trial of Milosevic, Simons used many questionable or even dubious sources to dovetail the events of the court into her preferred narrative. Herman documents the case of Zoran Lilic, a witness whose admissions suggested that the court had been involved in coaching witnesses and offering them attractive deals if they testified against Milosevic. Instead of stating his assigned lines, Lilic embarrased the court by exposing the deception. In order to expunge this sordid episode out of the NYT record, Simons avoided the issue by focusing on a conviniently leaked document. Herman describes her deception as follows:

Indeed, Lilic’s three days before the Tribunal happened to coincide with what appears to have been a maneuver by the increasingly desperate Office of the Prosecution to divert attention away from Lilic’s actual testimony, in which the former Yugoslav President (1993-1997) rejected the core of the prosecution’s contention that Milosevic’s guilt for “genocide” in Bosnia-Herzegovina rests with his “command responsibility” for the alleged massacre of some 7,000 Bosnian Muslims following the evacuation of the Srebrenica “safe area” in July 1995. “I am sure he could not have issued an order of that kind,” Lilic said during his extensive first day’s testimony. “I am quite certain [Milosevic] didn’t have influence on a decision of that kind.” But Simons reduced the whole of Lilic’s three days of testimony to a total of 16 quoted words spread over two short paragraphs at the very end of her article. Instead, Simons swallowed the Office of the Prosecutor’s bait, its revelation of a document that “may prove to be crucial evidence in support of their case that the former Yugoslav president is guilty of genocide.” First published on the webpage of the highly-compromised Institute for War & Peace Reporting, the alleged document “not only puts Serbian special police at the massacre site but also provides a direct link to Mr. Milosevic,” Simons reported. “[T]his is the first such document relating to the July 1995 massacre,” an anonymous “official in the prosecutor’s office” told her. In this manner Simons and the New York Times helped the prosecution salvage the Lilic bust by rushing to print news about an alleged secret document proving Serb perfidy, a document whose shelf life proved to be exceedingly short, once its real purpose had been served.

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