ITN: Case Closed

One of the pioneering feats of its sort in the ongoing struggle to discover the truth and uncover the media manipulation behind the Balkans wars of the 1990s, Emperors-Clothes’ first film, Judgment, accomplishes all it has set out to do in a remarkably short period of time.

At only thirty minutes in length, Judgment does not waste time on lengthy exposition or meaningless quotes by "experts" sitting in book-filled libraries. It is based entirely on facts – more specifically, the footage filmed by a Serbian radio-television crew in Omarska and Trnopolje in the summer of 1992, at the same time as the ITN TV crew was putting together their infamous "death camp" story.

The ITN crew is shown picking a location in the Trnopolje refugee camp to film from, then picking their interviewees, all in a way calculated to create an impression of a concentration camp. It becomes obvious at the very beginning that ITN had full cooperation of the Serbian authorities, which had nothing to hide. The contrast between footage seen in this film and the shots ITN made infamous around the world is startling.

But Judgment goes further. We are shown the step-by-step process of doctoring the photos, used by ITN editors. In just a few tricks of the editing software, pictures of refugees outside a fenced-in storage area morph into what appear to be pictures of tortured inmates in a "death camp."

All this is done with the minimum of editorializing. Judgment uncovers a vicious lie in a somewhat minimalist fashion. Given that ITN’s report was all editorializing, based on no facts, this is strangely appropriate.

As its producers say, this documentary will change minds. It does not aspire to match the slick, careful presentation of fantasies that the media like ITN have so specialized in. Instead, it presents the simple truth, with shattering effects to the deeply rooted current propaganda. And it does it exceptionally well.

This short film packs a powerful punch. After you see it, you will never see a TV report the same way again.

Author: Nebojsa Malic

Nebojsa Malic left his home in Bosnia after the Dayton Accords and currently resides in the United States. During the Bosnian War he had exposure to diplomatic and media affairs in Sarajevo. As a historian who specializes in international relations and the Balkans, Malic has written numerous essays on the Kosovo War, Bosnia, and Serbian politics. His exclusive column for debuted in November 2000.