— Prints Full Page Letter from ANC France and Other Human Rights Groups Demanding that TIME take Concrete Steps to Reverse the Profound Damage it has Caused
— ANC France Considering Legal Action
WASHINGTON–DC–Responding to months of protests organized by Armenian National Committee branches around the world–TIME Magazine’s European edition published–in its October 17 issue–a brief apology to the Armenian community and all its readers for disseminating earlier this year a 70 minute DVD advertisement denying the Armenian genocide. The controversy over this issue began on June 5–with the dissemination of a DVD–funded by the Ankara Chamber of Commerce–which featured denialist propaganda as part of a print and electronic advertisement package promoting tourism in Turkey.
TIME’s apology was printed alongside an extensive letter to the editors of TIME Europe by leading Armenian–Jewish–and human rights organizations. This response was published under France’s "right to reply" laws–which require a publication to provide editorial space to those unfairly attacked in its pages. The law was later expanded to audio-visual material as well–but with certain restrictions.
Joining the Armenian National Committee of France in writing to TIME Europe were the Coordinating Council of Armenian Organizations of France–J’Accuse–Le MRAP–and Mmoire 2000. In the letter–they noted that: "As representatives of French associations whose aim it is to fight against racism–anti-Semitism and to preserve the memory of the Armenian genocide–we were shocked and disappointed to see that you chose to include in your June 6–2005 issue of TIME Europe a DVD spreading such a grotesque denial of the Armenian genocide–and leveling so many hateful allegations against the Armenian people."
The letter was printed on a full page in the print edition and can be read in its entirety online. Its authors identified specific instances in the DVD of Genocide denial and stressed that–just as TIME Europe would rightfully not accept hateful Holocaust denial advertisemen’s–it should not have circulated similarly false materials denying the Armenian genocide.
The letter concluded by calling on TIME Europe to take three specific steps to rectify the situation it had created: 1) Disclose what–if any–official standards TIME Magazine employs accepting or rejecting advertising. For example–would TIME have accepted a similarly hateful DVD denying the Holocaust. 2) Distribute–free of charge–a DVD prepared by the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) documenting the history of the Armenian genocide and the modern day consequences of this crime. 3) Donate the advertising revenues from this campaign to non-profit organizations raising awareness about the Armenian genocide and other instances of genocide.
Following the letter–TIME Europe printed an apology for the dissemination of the DVD–stating that they had failed to properly review the DVD to establish its full contents before distributing it to their subscribers.
"TIME regrets distributing the DVD and we are very sorry for the offense it has caused. The so-called documentary portion of the DVD presents a one-sided view of history that does not meet our standards for fairness and accuracy–and we would not have distributed it had we been aware of its content. Unfortunately–the DVD was not adequately reviewed by anyone at TIME because it was believed to be a benign promotion piece. We have since changed our review process so as to guarantee more vigilance in the future. We apologize to the Armenian community and to our readers."
ANC France Chairman Harout Mardirossian commented that the TIME Europe apology and printing of the letter to the editor was "the first result of a joint effort and long-term engagement by associations fighting against racism–anti-Semitism and for the defense of the memory of the Armenian genocide." Mardirossian added–however–that the effort to rectify the situation has not ended–noting that–"if TIME Magazine thinks that this ‘right of reply’ will settle the score on this issue–it is seriously mistaken. A one-paragraph response does not match the outreach of a 70 minute DVD and cannot address the humiliation and degradation felt by Genocide survivors and their descendants as a result of this denialist propaganda." continued Mardirossian.
In an interview with the Armenian Weekly–Mardirossian did not rule out legal action in the TIME Europe case–stating that–"we–along with our partners [J’Accuse–Mmoire 2000–Coordinating Council of Armenian Organizations of France–Union of French Jewish Students] are ready–if necessary–to initiate a lawsuit against TIME–as well as the authors–producers–and distributors of the DVD."
Mardirossian added that the ANC France had successfully taken on similar anti-defamation cases in the past–including a recent court victory against French encyclopedia company–QUID–whose 2002–2003–and 2004 editions included historically inaccurate references denying the Armenian genocide. The recently published 2006 edition of the QUID encyclopedia has removed all revisionist references and correctly characterizes the events of 1915-1923 as genocide.
In the months leading up to the TIME Europe apology–the ANC France teamed up with the Armenian National Committee of America and European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) in initiating an international letter-writing campaign to TIME Europe calling for swift action in response to the DVD. Thousands responded to the call–expressing grave concern that TIME had sacrificed journalistic principle for a million dollar advertisement campaign.
A parallel effort to address the TIME Europe DVD misinformation issue has also been pursued by the Switzerland-Armenia Organization–based on violations of Swiss law.
To read the complete letter to the editor and the TIME Europe response–visit: