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18 Aug, 2008 01:14

Row escalates over U.S. media bias

The South Ossetian family of a 12 year old American girl have renewed their attack on the U.S. TV network which stopped them from telling their story of Georgian aggression on air. The live interview, which has whipped up a storm over media bias, saw the

It’s led to concerns over the objectivity  of coverage of the crisis, with claims that Americans are not hearing both sides of the story.  

And the family of 12 year old Amanda Kokoeva, who was visiting her relatives in South Ossetia, are determined that more people hear their account.

Amanda’s other aunt, who was with her when the war broke out, says that America’s media is shutting off its ears, refusing to acknowledge what she describes as Georgia trying to ‘annihilate [Ossetians] as a people’.

Georgia denies any accusation of genocide. Instead it claims its military campaign was aimed at establishing order over a breakaway region.

This war of words means nothing to Amanda’s cousin Yana.

“We were hiding in our basement until our family decided to risk it and drive to North Ossetia,” she recalls. “Our car came under fire and the tyres were blown out, so we had to walk to Russia. Amanda and I were very frightened.”

After crossing the Russian border, Amanda’s family took refuge at their grandma’s cousin’s place in the North Ossetian capital, Vladikavkaz.

“If you were in South Ossetia last week and were bombed by the Georgians, I'm sure you wouldn't want to remain part of Georgia,” said Tamara Kokoeva, Amanda's grandmother.