Friday, October 13, 2006

Reporters killed in Iraq

So far in the Iraq war, 118 journalists and reporters have been killed.
Most recently British journalist Terry Lloyd, a reporter for the ITN network, as well as Lebanese interpreter Hussein Osman and French cameraman Fred Nerac who were unlawfully killed by US army in Iraq on March 22 2003, a British coroner has ruled. Their clearly marked news vehicle fired on by US tanks. After being caught in a cross fire between the US Army and Iraqi forces. Wait a minute, aren't the Iraqis supposed to be on the US side anyway?

One could almost see something going on here. Like how many of these dead reporters were 'embedded' with US troops? We all know that embedded reporters don't really report what is happening in recent wars, they only report what they see when they are allowed to see anything at all. And even then, would an embedded reporter tell the world what was going on if it went against those he was travelling with?
Reporters Without Borders releases reports periodically about such things, it would be interesting to see who was embedded and who was not.

The coroner told the inquest: “In my view I have no doubt that the minibus presented no threat to the American forces as, firstly, it was a civilian vehicle, and secondly it stopped and turned around to pick up survivors and was facing away from the American forces. It was obvious that wounded persons were getting into the vehicle. If the vehicle was perceived as a threat then it would have been fired on before it did a U-turn. This would have resulted in damage to the front. There is no such damage.

The IFJ, the world's largest journalists' group, has organised a global campaign over the mystery surrounding a number of media deaths, starting with the United States military attack on the Palestine Hotel, a media centre, in Baghdad on April 8th 2003 in which two journalists died. On the same day the US attacked the Baghdad office of Al Jazeera, killing a reporter. Last year a court in Spain which had issued an arrest warrant for three American soldiers over the killing of cameraman Jose Couso in the Palestine Hotel had to abandon the case because of non-co-operation by the United States authorities. The IFJ has accused the United States of "callous indifference" over media killings, criticising its failure to produce credible reports, always exonerating its own personnel whenever they are involved and refusing to respond to appeals for independent and inclusive investigations.
"So long as the United States remains indifferent and refuses to explain the actions of its soldiers in these killings there will be speculation about deliberate targeting of media staff," said White.

ITN's editor in chief David Mannion said: "I would also like to say something that I know Terry would have wished me to say. "Independent, unilateral reporting, free from official strictures, is crucial; not simply to us as journalists but to the role we play in a free and democratic society."

Yep, there's something going on here.

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