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As he nears forty, Arnold is renowned for his talent and integrity as a reporter. His new assignment is an in-depth article on the civil war in Sri Lanka. He already knows the subject and the country very well. But he is prevented from leaving by a dizzy spell just as he is boarding the plane. His ophthalmologist discovers disturbing eye problems and refuses to let him leave the country. He can't accept the idea that a colleague whom he suspects of "hoaxing" is going to take his place. He decides to give the impression that he has left anyway and writes his report locked in his apartment. This causes him serious ethical problems, especially as the "hoax" wins him a major prize for reporting...
"This movie deals with a moral problem. Everyone knows that a report is subject to a journalist's views and sympathies. There's no such thing as an "objective" report since everything depends on the reporter's honesty in respecting the rules. Sometimes, a little tinkering with reality can give people a better understanding of a situation. But too much tinkering can lead to a red line that musn't be crossed, beyond which the reporter no longer relates a realistic situation but twists and disguises the truth. The whole problem is knowing just where this red line lies."