Separating fact from fiction
Over the past week, two battles have been fought on the borders of Georgia and South Ossetia; a military campaign, and a fight for the airwaves. In both, the BBC has found itself in the middle.
Last week, a BBC team was filming near the Georgian town of Gori when a Russian fighter jet opened fire on them. My colleagues were lucky - others have been less so. Five news staff - four journalists and a driver - have been killed since the fighting erupted. Others have been threatened and robbed at gunpoint by paramilitaries. War is a dangerous business.
The battle for public opinion has been just as intense. In the early hours of Tuesday morning, viewers to BBC World News - including those up late in the UK - were treated to the extraordinary sight of my colleague Nik Gowing conducting a live interview with Georgian President Saakashvili in his war room during World News America.
The President, "Dad's-Army" style, used a pen to point to a map detailing the latest Russian advance - and this at 3am in the morning in Tbilisi! It's one of around half a dozen interviews President Saakashvili has done with the BBC in the past seven days.
For the BBC to have access to someone so influential, as a key moment, is of course vital to our storytelling. But that level of access also carries with it an inherent danger. We need to ensure balanced coverage. Fortunately, during the past week, the BBC has had interviews with the Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, the deputy Prime Minister, Mr Ivanov and yesterday, viewers to BBC One were treated to a live interview with a Russian General speaking fluent English, sitting in our studio in Moscow. Another first.
But war, is not only dangerous, it's also dirty. Separating fact from fiction is hard - but it's vital. On 10 August, Russia's English language news channel Russia Today, reported that the death toll in South Ossetia had reached 2,000. While the BBC has Matthew Collin permanently based in Tbilisi - and we were quickly able to reinforce him with colleagues from Moscow and London - getting access to South Ossetia has proved more difficult.
Yesterday colleagues from Danish and Canadian broadcasters were robbed close to the border. It's not been safe enough to travel from Tbilisi to the town of Tskhinvali in South Ossetia, the scene, say the Russians of destructuction at the hands of the Georgians. Not until Wednesday - six days after the first shots were fired - was a BBC team able to get in to see what had happened for themselves, and then only in the company of Russian officials. It's clear there's been great suffering in both Georgia and South Ossetia, but it's proved impossible for us to verify that figure of 2,000 dead.
And for people, like journalists, who deal in facts, that means war is dangerous, dirty...and frustrating.