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      TIME Prints Full-Page Letter

TIME Prints Full-Page Letter   20/10/2005

TIME Prints Full-Page Letter
To Rectify Turkish DVD Flap

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

TIME magazine came a step closer this week to properly address a major
dispute with Armenians worldwide over its distribution of a Turkish DVD
denying the Armenian Genocide.

In its June 6, 2005 issue, the European edition of TIME ran a four-page ad
placed by the Ankara Chamber of Commerce promoting tourism in Turkey. As
part of that paid ad, the magazine included a DVD insert that had a
70-minute segment that denied and distorted the facts of the Armenian
Genocide. This highly offensive material, hidden behind a couple of benign
segments on tourism in the DVD, was disseminated to half a million TIME
subscribers in a dozen European countries.

Initially, the editors of TIME did not seem to realize the grave error they
had committed by becoming accomplices to Turkish denialists. They dismissed
Armenian complaints about this hateful and hurtful Turkish DVD by simply
stating that TIME did “not endorse the views of any organization or
government.”

However, when the Switzerland-Armenia Association wrote a letter threatening
to sue TIME for violating a Swiss law against the denial of crimes against
humanity and genocide, the magazine’s managing editor, James Kelly, wrote
back stating that no one at TIME had “adequately reviewed” the offensive
segment of the Turkish DVD. He apologized profusely and repeatedly to the
Armenian community and to all its readers. Mr. Kelly said that the DVD
presented a distorted view of history that did not meet the magazine’s
“standards for fairness and accuracy.” He added: “we would not have
distributed [the DVD] had we been aware of the content.”

The Swiss-Armenian group, however, was not satisfied with this response.
They wrote back pointing out that the magazine had not addressed the issue
of redressing the damage caused by the malicious Turkish DVD to the
descendants of the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

Meanwhile, five French organizations hired an attorney in order to pursue
their legal rights under French laws that call for the protection of “human
dignity.” Mémoire 2000, the Coordinating Council of Armenian Organizations
of France (CCOAF), the Armenian National Committee of France (CDCA), J’
Accuse, and the Movement Against Racism and for Friendship Among Peoples
(MRAP) wrote a lengthy joint letter of complaint that was published on a
whole page in the October 17 issue of TIME’s European edition.

The French organizations requested that TIME distribute free of charge an
objective DVD on the Armenian Genocide and donate the income from the
Turkish ad to non-profit organizations that advocate the truth about the
Armenian Genocide.

In an “Editor’s note” published along with the letter, TIME restated the
apology that it had expressed earlier to the Switzerland-Armenia
Association. The note added that TIME was publishing this letter “pursuant
to French law (‘droit de réponse’)” [right of reply].

The ANC of France (CDCA) stated in a press release that by printing the
letter and expressing its apology, TIME had partially acknowledged its
error. This right of reply “is the initial result of a common and long-term
initiative by the associations fighting against racism, anti-Semitism and
for the defense of the memory of the Armenian people" said Harout
Mardirossian, Chairman of CDCA. "If TIME magazine thinks that this right of
reply settles all accounts, it is sadly mistaken. TIME magazine’s response
does not redress the terrible suffering of those who saw this sordid tool of
denialist propaganda. Taking into account the most heinous content of this
DVD, our demands for redress go far beyond this simple right of reply and we
intend to attain them," said Mardirossian.

The Chairman of CDCA reiterated the demand of the five organizations for the
magazine to disseminate free of charge to its European subscribers an
objective DVD on the Armenian Genocide, and to have TIME donate the revenues
from the Turkish ad to non-profit organizations that advocate the truth
about the Armenian and all other genocides.

By acknowledging its error, apologizing for it and publishing a full-page
letter, TIME magazine has begun to take responsibility for the pain and
suffering it has caused to Armenians worldwide.

TIME’s executives and the representatives of French and Swiss organizations
now have to sit down together and consider the proper ways to undo the
damage caused by the Turkish DVD. As has been suggested previously, one such
way would be for TIME to disseminate to its readers an accurate DVD on the
Armenian Genocide. Another possible step would be for the magazine to donate
the revenues from the Turkish DVD to non-profit organizations. It would be
wrong for TIME to profit from tainted funds belonging to revisionists and
denialists of genocide!




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