New issue of the Electronic Gaming Montlhy (Issue 175, Feb. 2004) published ad for new computer game with the use of rough falsification of the photo of the farewell ceremony with the Russian soldiers killed in Chechen Republic.
See the photo at
http://world.pravda.ru/world/2004/5/16/43/15713_oskorblenie.html The theme of the game is popular - virtual shooting various terrorists. The Electronic Gaming Monthly is published in the USA, and the falsification was brought to light by designer Roman Stepanov living in the United States. When looking through the new issue of the magazine, he encountered this photo.
Only due to his energy this falsification was noticed by the public. Stepanov addressed his American friends and the US veteran organizations for help. Thousands of people paid attention to this problem and literally overflew the magazine publisher Ziff Davis Media Inc. with letters of protest.
The first reaction of the company CEOs was amazing. They did not apologize, on the contrary the magazine representatives threatened to sue the US website which published the copy of the Electronic Gaming Montlhy ad, for copyright infringement.
However, the company managers quickly changed their mind after realizing what kind of results this case can produce for them. Just several hours after their letter with the threats to start legal case, Stepanov received e-mail message from one of Ziff Davis Media Inc company managers. The manager apologized for offending the memory of Russian soldiers by this advertising and assured that the magazine reporters "did not have the intention to humiliate anybody". The letter also informed that the magazine will publish apologies in its April issue.
It would seem that the conflict has been settled. However, Roman Stepanov is going to proceed in court with the request of paying compensation to the families of killed soldiers
One should draw hasty and incorrect conclusions from this story that the USA do not respect Russia on the whole and the Russian Army in particular. For example, thousands of Americans got indignant with blasphemous advertising. Their reaction forced the magazine to apologize. Stepanov alone would hardly be able achieve something.
But why are similar situations possible? This is a popular magazine which probably respects its credibility. Its CEOs would hardly decide to do something of this sort with the photo of funeral ceremony of the US Army soldiers.
Let us hope that nothing of this sort will happen in future, and nobody will repeat mistakes of the Electronic Gaming Monthly. However, nobody is able to check all magazine ads.
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