Winner 1998

Panorama: When Good Men Do Nothing

BBC , London, England, WGBH-TV, Boston, Massachusetts

Originally presented on the British public affairs program Panorama, this international co-production provided important evidence that the 1994 genocide in Rwanda had been foretold and could have been prevented. In this harrowing hour, reporter Steve Bradshaw’s third documentary about the genocide in Rwanda, it was revealed that the United Nations first ignored warnings of genocide, then pretended that the genocide wasn’t really happening, and finally when the massacres began to become public the U. N. Security Council made hollow promises to stop the butchery. At the heart of the reporting were personal stories: of journalists, powerless to save those pleading for mercy in front of their eyes and in their camera lenses; of bureaucrats in high and low places who were rendered ineffectual by red tape, indifference, or indecision; and of powerful politicians who hesitated, as their attention was diverted by other issues in other areas of the world. The aphorism from which this program takes its inspiration—all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing—rings true today a half century after the Nazi death camps, and a scant half-decade since the slaughter in Rwanda. For providing a timely reminder in tribute to its victims, and for offering a stirring rebuke of those who failed to act in time, a Peabody to BBC News and WGBH-TV for When Good Men Do Nothing.