Politkovskaya, Novaya Gazeta
October 7, 2006
Politkovskaya, 48, a journalist renowned for her critical coverage of the
Chechen conflict, was found slain in her apartment building in Moscow,
according to international news reports. Politkovskaya was well known for
her investigative reports on human rights abuses by the Russian military in
Chechnya. In seven years covering the second Chechen war, Politkovskaya’s
reporting repeatedly drew the wrath of Russian authorities. She was
threatened, jailed, forced into exile, and poisoned during her career.
January 10, 2003
Report: Russia Is Not Safe For Press
By Andrei Zolotov Jr.
As press freedom watchdogs sum up 2002, they agree
that the past year was not the best for Russian journalists but one
goes so far as calling Russia the world's most dangerous place to be
In saying this, the Paris-based international media watchdog
Reporters Without Borders, or RSF, is basing its rating on the
number of journalists killed in the line of duty, which it says is
four. Other press freedom watchdogs, however, have far different
numbers and also question the correlation between the number of
journalists' deaths and the state of the media.
Putting Russia directly after two continents -- Asia with 11
killed journalists and Latin America with nine -- the RSF report,
called "Annual Roundup. World Political Tensions Eroded Press
Freedom in 2002" and posted Monday on the organization's web site,
says that "underworld and local officials" were behind the four
murders or journalists in Russia.
The report also says that "in Europe increased censorship was
most noticeable in Russia" and gives one example: the Federal
Security Service's confiscation of the muck-raking weekly Versia's
computers in November, accepting its editor's allegation that the
raid was connected to the paper's coverage of the Dubrovka hostage
crisis, which the FSB denies.
The heads of Russia's two best-known press freedom advocacy
groups, Alexei Simonov of the Glasnost Defense Foundation and Oleg
Panfilov of the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, agree
that censorship is growing but say the RSF report does little to
shed light on the problems.
For instance, they point to the greater degree of censorship in
the regions. Panfilov gave the example of the Politicheskaya Kukhnya
current affairs show anchored by Valentina Buzmanina on Nizhny
Novgorod's state-owned NNTV local channel, which he said was taken
off the air 15 times in 2002.
The biggest trend in the increase of censorship, Panfilov said,
is the growing number of criminal cases launched against
"The number of criminal cases opened against journalists in three
years of Vladimir Putin's rule is more than the number during the
entire 10 years of Boris Yeltsin's reign," he said. In 2002, his
group registered 27 criminal cases opened against journalists.
Some of them are dropped after protests from advocacy groups or
when local bureaucrats realize they would be laughed at, Panfilov
said. Others end in suspended sentences.
In some cases, a newspaper is de facto shut down by law
enforcement officials, who seize its computers as collateral against
any future fine.
Another traditional way of getting at unfavorable media is to
unleash health or fire inspectors on them, as in the case of web
studio Penza Online, which was shut down last year because the
temperature in its offices was 2 degrees below the norm.
"What is the norm we see now on television," Panfilov said,
referring to heating breakdowns in northwestern Russia.
The RSF report's 2002 death toll for Russia includes three
journalists -- Natalya Skryl, a reporter with Taganrog's Nashe
Vremya newspaper; Sergei Kalinovsky, editor of Moskovsky
Komsomolets' Smolensk edition; Valery Ivanov, editor of
Tolyattinskoye Obozreniye and head of Lada-TV in Tolyatti -- and one
"media assistant": Alexander Plotnikov, a co-owner of Tyumen's
biggest advertising newspaper, Gostiny Dvor, who had an ownership
dispute with his business partners.
Simonov said Russia's ranking as the most dangerous country for
journalists "is most likely the result of Columbia's poor harvest of
dead journalists this year."
But the RSF lists five deaths in Columbia, of three journalists
and two so-called media assistants.
Vincent Brossel, the author of RSF's report, said Thursday that
one of Columbia's media assistants was a newspaper salesman and in
fact Columbia and Russia were "on the same level" of danger. But the
organization decided to rate Russia as most dangerous because it had
a greater number of media professionals die whose deaths had not yet
been linked to their journalistic activities.
Simonov said establishing the connection between a journalist's
death and his work is difficult. The Glasnost Defense Foundation
gets around this by listing those who "perish" in a given year, and
in 2002 it was 19 journalists and six "other media employees" who
died of unnatural causes.
"Take the journalists who died on [Krasnoyarsk Governor
Alexander] Lebed's helicopter," Simonov said. "Were they in the line
of duty? Yes. Were they murdered? No. Does this make Russia a less
dangerous place to practice journalism? I don't know."
Panfilov said that only one death -- of Tolyatti's Ivanov -- was
clearly related to his journalistic work.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists listed three
Russian cases as "confirmed" (Skryl, Ivanov and British freelancer
Roddy Scott, whose body was found after fighting in Ingushetia's
Galashki village in September), plus Kalinovsky as one of those
where the motive is not confirmed.
Panfilov, however, said that according to his Ingushetia sources,
Scott was not killed, but died after falling off a cliff and was
carried by Chechens to Galashki, where his body was discovered by
Brossel defended his organization's choice and criteria. He said
RSF included Plotnikov because it considers publishing to be
journalistic activity and did not include Scott because he was not
particularly targeted but died among a group of Chechen rebels.
"We prefer to be wrong on a certain case and include some names
which are not related to press freedom, rather than not include
those who are," Brossel said by telephone from Paris.
A bigger issue is what the number of journalists' deaths say
about the state of media freedom in a country.
Panfilov, whose group monitors press freedom in the CIS, said
that although Russia and Ukraine are probably indeed the most
dangerous places for journalists in this part of the world, they are
not the most unfree.
"If we speak about government pressure and the absence of a free
press, Turkmenbashi's motherland is definitely the leader," Panfilov
said, referring to Turkmenistan.
Brossel agreed. "You cannot put on the same level North Korea and
the Philippines," he said. "In North Korea, there is no free press,
just propaganda, and no reporters are killed that we know of. In the
Philippines, there is free press but every year someone gets killed.
It may sound like a contradiction, but the fact that journalists get
killed means that there is free press in the country."
By The Associated Press
Wed Aug 3, 9:19 AM ET
A list of journalists killed in Iraq since the war started March 20,
• Steven Vincent, a freelancer whose work had appeared in The New York
Times and Wall Street Journal, was shot multiple times after he and his
Iraqi translator were abducted at gunpoint in Basra, Aug. 2.
• Saleh Ibrahim, an Associated Press Television News cameraman, killed
when gunfire broke out after an explosion in the northern city of Mosul,
• Television journalists Fadhil Hazem Fadhi and Ali Ibrahim Issa, both
working for Al-Hurriya, killed when they drove by suicide bombings
outside the Interior Ministry in Baghdad while on their way to an
assignment, April 14.
• Iraqi news anchor Raeda Wazzan, working for Iraqi state TV channel Al-Iraqiya,
kidnapped on February 20 and found dead with multiple gunshots in the
head five days later on a roadside in Mosul where she had lived and
worked, Feb. 25.
• Iraq television correspondent Abdul Hussein Khazal al-Basri, 40,
working for U.S.-funded Iraqi television station Al-Hurra, and his
3-year-old son, Mohammed, both killed by gunmen as they left their home
in Basra, Feb. 9.
• Iraqi freelance cameraman Dhia Najim, on assignment for Reuters,
killed in Ramadi where he had been covering a gunbattle between the U.S.
military and Iraqi insurgents, Nov. 1.
• Iraqi television anchorwoman Leqaa Abdul Razzaq, working for Al-Sharqiyah
television, killed by gunmen as she was traveling by taxi to her home in
Baghdad, Oct. 27.
• Iraqi photographer Karam Hussein, working for European Pressphoto
Agency, killed by a group of gunmen in front of his home in Mosul, Oct.
• Iraqi television reporter Dina Mohammed Hassan, working for Al-Hurriya,
was killed in a drive-by shooting in front of her Baghdad residence by a
gunman who shouted "Collaborator! Collaborator!" Oct. 14.
• Palestinian television journalist Mazen al-Tumeizi, a reporter for Al-Arabiya
television, reportedly killed after a U.S. helicopter fired missiles and
machine guns to destroy a disabled American vehicle in Baghdad, Sept.
• Ismail Taher Mohsin, an Iraqi driver who worked for the AP, was
ambushed by gunmen and killed near his home in Baghdad. The reasons for
the slaying have never become clear, Sept. 2.
• Italian freelance journalist Enzo Baldoni, 56, working for Milan-based
weekly magazine Diario della Settimana and researching a book on
militants, murdered by kidnappers from a militant group calling itself
the Islamic Army in Iraq near Najaf, Aug. 26.
• Iraqi cameraman Mahmoud Hamid Abbas, 32, working for the German
television station Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen, killed on assignment in
Fallujah, Aug. 15.
• Japanese photographer Shinsuke Hashida, 61, and his nephew, journalist
Kotaro Ogawa, 33, on assignment for the Japanese daily Nikkan Gendai,
killed in an ambush south of Baghdad, May 27.
• Rashid Hamid Wali, assistant cameraman for the Qatar-based satellite
channel Al-Jazeera, killed by gunfire while covering fighting between
U.S. troops and militiamen loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr,
in Karbala, May 21.
• Correspondent Waldemar Milewicz and producer Mounir Bouamrane of
Poland's TVP television, killed in an ambush by gunmen in Mahmoudiyah,
about 20 miles south of Baghdad, May 7.
• Correspondent Asaad Kadhim and driver Hussein Saleh of the U.S.-funded
television station Al-Iraqiya shot by U.S. troops, April 19.
• Burhan Mohamed Mazhour, Iraqi cameraman freelancing for ABC, killed in
Fallujah, reportedly by U.S. troop fire in his direction, March 26.
• Ali Abdel Aziz and Ali al-Khatib, of the United Arab Emirates-based
news channel Al-Arabiya, shot by U.S. military near checkpoint in
Baghdad, March 18.
• Nadia Nasrat, news anchor with Coalition Provisional Authority's Iraq
Media Network/Diyala TV, killed by unidentified assailants in Baqouba,
• Twin suicide bombings on offices of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and
Kurdistan Democratic Party in Arbil kill six journalists, Safir Nader
and Haymin Mohamed Salih, cameramen with Qulan TV; Abdel Sattar Abdel
Karim, a freelance photographer for the Arabic-language daily Al Ta'akhy;
Ayoub Mohamed and Gharib Mohamed Salih, of Kurdistan TV; and Semko Karim
Mohyideen, a freelancer, Feb. 1.
• Duraid Isa Mohammed, producer for CNN, killed with his driver in
ambush outside Baghdad, Jan. 27.
• Ahmed Shawkat of Iraqi independent weekly Bilah Ittijah killed by
gunmen at his office in Mosul, Oct. 28.
• Mazen Dana, Reuters cameraman, shot while working near U.S.-run Abu
Ghraib prison on outskirts of Baghdad, Aug. 17.
• Jeremy Little, Australian sound engineer for NBC News, died July 6,
2003, at military hospital in Germany from wounds suffered June 29, in a
grenade attack on a military vehicle in Fallujah.
• Richard Wild, British freelance cameraman, shot on street corner
outside Iraq's Natural History Museum in Baghdad, July 5.
• Tareq Ayyoub, Jordanian, journalist for Al-Jazeera, killed when
network's Baghdad office hit in U.S. bombing campaign, April 8.
• Jose Couso, cameraman for Spanish television network Telecinco, and
Taras Protsyuk, Ukrainian TV cameraman for Reuters, killed when U.S.
tank fired at Palestine hotel in Baghdad, April 8.
• Christian Liebig, of Germany's Focus weekly, and Julio Parrado, of
Spain's El Mundo, killed in Iraqi rocket attack on U.S. Army's 3rd
Infantry Division south of Baghdad, April 7.
• Kamaran Abdurazaq Muhamed, Kurdish translator for BBC, killed in U.S.
aircraft bombing of joint convoy of Kurdish fighters and U.S. Special
Forces in northern Iraq, April 6.
• Michael Kelly, editor-at-large for The Atlantic Monthly, killed when
Humvee he was riding in with U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division plunged
into canal near Baghdad, April 3.
• Kaveh Golestan, Iranian freelance cameraman for BBC, killed in land
mine explosion in northern town of Kifrey, April 2.
• Terry Lloyd, correspondent for Britain's Independent Television News,
and translator Hussein Osman of Lebanon, shot in fighting between
coalition and Iraqi forces near Basra, March 22.
• Paul Moran, freelance cameraman for Australian Broadcasting
Corporation, killed in apparent car bomb at checkpoint in northern Iraq,
Other deaths, disappearances:
• Mark Fineman, correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, died in Baghdad
of apparent heart attack, Sept. 23, 2003.
• Elizabeth Neuffer, reporter for The Boston Globe, killed with her
translator Waleed Khalifa Hassan Al-Dulami when their car hit a
guardrail on highway north of Baghdad, May 8, 2003.
• Mario Podesto, Argentine television reporter, killed in car crash
outside Baghdad, April 14, 2003. Veronica Cabrera, Argentine freelance
camerawoman, died April 15 of injuries from the crash.
• David Bloom, NBC News reporter, died from an apparent blood clot while
covering the war south of Baghdad, April 6, 2003.
• Gaby Rado, correspondent for Britain's Channel 4 News, died after
apparently falling from a hotel roof in northern Iraq, March 30, 2003.
• Independent Television News journalist, cameraman Fred Nerac of
France, missing since the shooting incident March 22, 2003 in southern
Iraq in which Terry Lloyd and Hussein Osman were killed.
John Sweeney, The Observer 16 November 1997
We accuse. 80 000 times
A corrupt and hated
government has been killing its people for six years, while the West
turns a blind eye. John Sweeney demands action now to halt the
Last May I went to Algiers. The flight takes less time than to your
average Greek or Turkish package holiday. It takes a fraction of the
time it takes to get to Rwanda or Iraq or any of the other countries
where evil things happen. And there, a hop south from Majorca, is a
country with the worst human rights records on earth: the Blow-torch
Democracy. I wrote a story, detailing the evidence that the state's
security military was torturing and killing its own people. Nothing
In July I reported Peter's story. He was a ship's engineer who
had been blowtorched in Algeria's gulag. The skin on the inside of his
arm was webbed and dry, like a falcon's claw. The blowtorch was not the
worse. Nothing happened.
This summer, hundreds of people were massacred
in the killing fields south of Algiers. The world's suspicions grew.
Reporters such as Robert Fisk of the Independent, Anthony Loyd of the
Times and Saira Shah of Channel Four News produced fresh evidence of the
government's complicity in killing, confirming what the Observer had
said. Last week we reported the story of Joseph, an Algerian secret
policeman haunted by the murders and tortures his masters had commanded.
The story exploded in Algiers, London, Paris and
Rome. The Algerian ambassador to Italy was called in 'for
consultations'. The next day, the Italian ambassador to Algeria was,
in his turn, called in, 'for consultations'. The office of the Italian
Prime Minister quoted British intelligence sources dismissing Joseph's
story. The office of the French Interior Ministry dismissed the story.
The Algerian ambassador to London, His Excellency Ahmed Benyamina,
dismissed the story as 'fanciful' - All these dismissals had one thing
in common: they were delivered at one remove. The state of Algeria and
Its friends in the Western chancelleries prefer, on this subject, to
work in the dark. No one is denying the cruelty and murder committed by
Islamic extremists in Algeria. But the weight of evidence indicts the
state of Algeria. Around 80,000 people have been killed since the
generals cheated the people by scrapping elections in 1991. The
government -le pouvoir- is corrupt, hated and stays in power by a reign
of terror. Consider the evidence from Amnesty International Human Rights
Watch, the International Federation of Human Rights, Reporters Without
Frontiers; evidence from Algeria's own state-controlled media; evidence
held by policemen in London, Paris and Rome. Let's take three examples.
In July 1994, the Group of Seven world leaders, meeting in Naples, were
horrified to learn that seven Italian sea-men had had their throats cut
by 'Islamic extremists' in the Algerian port of Jenjen, near Jijel. That
day, President Clinton condemned this latest Islamic atrocity, and the
West agreed. Last week, Joseph told us the killers were his colleagues
in the secret police. Who do we believe?
Jenjen was, at the time of the
massacre a heavily guarded naval dockyard, in a military zone, with a
naval barracks a few yards from the ship where the Italians were butchered.
If extremists were the killers , they had to pass the
military con-trol, tiptoe by the barracks, slit the throats of the
Italian crew, unload 600 tonnes of cargo, which was found to be missing,
and tiptoe back with-out being spotted.
In 1995, a series of bombs went off in Paris. Islamic extremists were
blame= d and the West agreed. Joseph told us the men who planned the bombs
were Generals Tewfik and
Smain, commanders in the Algerian secret police, and the operation was
controlled from the Algerian embassy in Paris. After the bombings, the
then French Interior Minister, Jean-Louis Debre, was asked at an
off-the-record lunch whether It was possible the Algerian secret police
had been behind the bombings. He said: 'The Algerian security
military would like us to go up the wrong trail so that we can
eliminate people who annoy them.
' In 1997, three huge massacres took
place south of Algiers. All three happened in a heavily guarded zone,
surrounded by army barracks. It takes a long time to slit the throats of
200 people. No one has been brought before the Algerian courts for any
of the big massacres. The killers, the regime admits, 'left undisturbed'.
Then there are the archives of Amnesty international and the other
human-rights groups: case after case of torture and death, indicting the
security military. Either these trusted groups are conspiring against
the state of Algeria, or their reports are true. The Islamic extremists
'responsible' for these massacres belong to an organisation known as GIA,
the Armed Islamic Groups. Their last three spokesman in London have not
been Algerian, but Egyptian, Syrian and Palestinian.
Talk to the IRA, by
contrast and you find Irishmen. Joseph and others say the GIA have been
'turned' by the Algerian secret police. If this is true, then the world
knows who to blame for the killings. In normal countries there a simple way
for abuses of power to be made public: journalism. In Algeria, some
70 journalists have been killed by 'Islamic extremists'. Not a single.
person has been convicted of killing any one of these 70.
journalists don't ask questions.
The only Algerian journa1ists allowed
near the massacres are bosom friends of the Le secret police. Last May I
met one. We had a philosophical conversation about the uses of torture.
She was in favour. Our conversation ended on unfriendly terms. The true
story of what is happening inside Algeria has not been told. What we are
seeming is akin to Virginia Woolf's view of Dostoevsky: 'The little bits
of cork which mark a circle upon the top of the waves, while the net drags
the floor of the sea and encloses stranger monsters than have ever been
brought to the light of day before.' Now something of the truth is beginning
to come out, thanks to Joseph and a few other brave souls. They risk murder
and great harm to their loved ones in so doing. But we in the West are not
in danger. So why the silence? Let us not underestimate the power of the
state of Algeria. It squats on huge oil and gas deposits worth billions. It
sup-plies the gas that warms Madrid and Rome. It has a =A31.8 billion pounds
contract with British Petroleum. No Western government wants to make trouble with the state
of Algeria. Its wealth buys silence, buys complicity. Since the military
junta over-threw the country's democracy, 80,000 have been killed:
Europe's gas bill. In the face of the mountain of evidence against the
junta, the Observer makes its position clear. We accuse the state of
Algeria of mass murder. W= e accuse the state of Algeria of mass
torture. And we accuse the state of Algeria of abandoning the rule of
law. We want answers, not denials, a commission of inquiry Into the
killings. Europe and the international community must act. And we want
everything to be in the open, in the light.
Last week I was asked on to
BBC World Television and challenged on Joseph's story. At the end of the
interview, the presenter said the BBC had asked the Algerians for a
comment, but none had been forthcoming. That's not good enough. So, come
on, Your Excellencies, stand up for Algeria. Explain to the world what
has been happening. How come the Islamic extremists tiptoed past the
navy barracks in 1994?
Who planned the -Paris bombs? How come no one
has been charged for the massacres? How come no one has been charged for
the killing of any of the 70 dead journalists? You wouldn't be afraid of
the light, would you, Your Excellencies?
IS THERE SOME ELEMENT IN THE US MILITARY
THAT WANTS TO TAKE OUT JOURNALISTS?
By Robert Fisk in Baghdad - 09 April 2003
the Americans killed the correspondent of al-Jazeera yesterday
and wounded his cameraman. Then, within four hours, they attacked
the Reuters television bureau in Baghdad, killing one of its
cameramen and a cameraman for Spain's Tele 5 channel and wounding
four other members of the Reuters staff.
Was it possible to believe this was an accident? Or was it
possible that the right word for these killings - the first with a
jet aircraft, the second with an M1A1 Abrams tank - was murder?
These were not, of course, the first journalists to die in the
Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. Terry Lloyd of ITV was shot dead by
American troops in southern Iraq, who apparently mistook his car for
an Iraqi vehicle. His crew are still missing. Michael Kelly of The
Washington Post tragically drowned in a canal. Two journalists have
died in Kurdistan. Two journalists - a German and a Spaniard - were
killed on Monday night at a US base in Baghdad, with two Americans,
when an Iraqi missile exploded amid them.
And we should not forget the Iraqi civilians who are being killed
and maimed by the hundred and who - unlike their journalist guests -
cannot leave the war and fly home. So the facts of yesterday should
speak for themselves. Unfortunately for the Americans, they make it
look very like murder.
The US jet turned to rocket al-Jazeera's office on the banks of
the Tigris at 7.45am local time yesterday. The television station's
chief correspondent in Baghdad, Tariq Ayoub, a
Jordanian-Palestinian, was on the roof with his second cameraman, an
Iraqi called Zuheir, reporting a pitched battle near the bureau
between American and Iraqi troops. Mr Ayoub's colleague Maher
Abdullah recalled afterwards that both men saw the plane fire the
rocket as it swooped toward their building, which is close to the
Jumhuriya Bridge upon which two American tanks had just appeared.
"On the screen, there was this battle and we could see bullets
flying and then we heard the aircraft," Mr Abdullah said.
"The plane was flying so low that those of us downstairs thought
it would land on the roof - that's how close it was. We actually
heard the rocket being launched. It was a direct hit - the missile
actually exploded against our electrical generator. Tariq died
almost at once. Zuheir was injured."
Now for America's problems in explaining this little saga. Back
in 2001, the United States fired a cruise missile at al-Jazeera's
office in Kabul - from which tapes of Osama bin Laden had been
broadcast around the world. No explanation was ever given for this
extraordinary attack on the night before the city's "liberation";
the Kabul correspondent, Taiseer Alouni, was unhurt. By the strange
coincidence of journalism, Mr Alouni was in the Baghdad office
yesterday to endure the USAF's second attack on al-Jazeera.
Far more disturbing, however, is the fact that the al-Jazeera
network - the freest Arab television station, which has incurred the
fury of both the Americans and the Iraqi authorities for its live
coverage of the war - gave the Pentagon the co-ordinates of its
Baghdad office two months ago and received assurances that the
bureau would not be attacked.
Then on Monday, the US State Department's spokesman in Doha, an
Arab-American called Nabil Khouri, visited al-Jazeera's offices in
the city and, according to a source within the Qatari satellite
channel, repeated the Pentagon's assurances. Within 24 hours, the
Americans had fired their missile into the Baghdad office.
The next assault, on Reuters, came just before midday when an
Abrams tank on the Jamhuriya Bridge suddenly pointed its gun barrel
towards the Palestine Hotel where more than 200 foreign journalists
are staying to cover the war from the Iraqi side. Sky Television's
David Chater noticed the barrel moving. The French television
channel France 3 had a crew in a neighbouring room and videotaped
the tank on the bridge. The tape shows a bubble of fire emerging
from the barrel, the sound of a detonation and then pieces of
paintwork falling past the camera as it vibrates with the impact.
In the Reuters bureau on the 15th floor, the shell exploded amid
the staff. It mortally wounded a Ukrainian cameraman, Taras
Protsyuk, who was also filming the tanks, and seriously wounded
another member of the staff, Paul Pasquale from Britain, and two
other journalists, including Reuters' Lebanese-Palestinian reporter
Samia Nakhoul. On the next floor, Tele 5's cameraman Jose Couso was
badly hurt. Mr Protsyuk died shortly afterwards. His camera and its
tripod were left in the office, which was swamped with the crew's
blood. Mr Couso had a leg amputated but he died half an hour after
The Americans responded with what all the evidence proves to be a
straightforward lie. General Buford Blount of the US 3rd Infantry
Division - whose tanks were on the bridge - announced that his
vehicles had come under rocket and rifle fire from snipers in the
Palestine Hotel, that his tank had fired a single round at the hotel
and that the gunfire had then ceased. The general's statement,
however, was untrue.
I was driving on a road between the tanks and the hotel at the
moment the shell was fired - and heard no shooting. The French
videotape of the attack runs for more than four minutes and records
absolute silence before the tank's armament is fired. And there were
no snipers in the building. Indeed, the dozens of journalists and
crews living there - myself included - have watched like hawks to
make sure that no armed men should ever use the hotel as an assault
This is, one should add, the same General Blount who boasted just
over a month ago that his crews would be using depleted uranium
munitions - the kind many believe to be responsible for an explosion
of cancers after the 1991 Gulf War - in their tanks. For General
Blount to suggest, as he clearly does, that the Reuters camera crew
was in some way involved in shooting at Americans merely turns a
meretricious statement into a libellous one.
Again, we should remember that three dead and five wounded
journalists do not constitute a massacre - let alone the equivalence
of the hundreds of civilians being maimed by the invasion force. And
it is a truth that needs to be remembered that the Iraqi regime has
killed a few journalists of its own over the years, with tens of
thousands of its own people. But something very dangerous appeared
to be getting loose yesterday. General Blount's explanation was the
kind employed by the Israelis after they have killed the innocent.
Is there therefore some message that we reporters are supposed to
learn from all this? Is there some element in the American military
that has come to hate the press and wants to take out journalists
based in Baghdad, to hurt those whom our Home Secretary, David
Blunkett, has maliciously claimed to be working "behind enemy
lines". Could it be that this claim - that international
correspondents are in effect collaborating with Mr Blunkett's enemy
(most Britons having never supported this war in the first place) -
is turning into some kind of a death sentence?
I knew Mr Ayoub. I have broadcast during the war from the rooftop
on which he died. I told him then how easy a target his Baghdad
office would make if the Americans wanted to destroy its coverage -
seen across the Arab world - of civilian victims of the bombing. Mr
Protsyuk of Reuters often shared the Palestine Hotel's elevator with
me. Samia Nakhoul, who is 42, has been a friend and colleague since
the 1975-90 Lebanese civil war. She is married to the Financial
Times correspondent David Gardner.
Yesterday afternoon, she lay covered in blood in a Baghdad
hospital. And General Blount dared to imply that this innocent woman
and her brave colleagues were snipers. What, I wonder, does this
tell us about the war in Iraq?
'The American forces knew exactly what this hotel is'
The Sky News correspondent David Chater was in the Palestine
Hotel when the hotel was hit by American tank fire. This is his
account of what happened.
"I was about to go out on to the balcony when there was a huge
explosion, then shouts and screams from people along our corridor.
They were shouting, 'Somebody's been hit. Can somebody find a
doctor?' They were saying they could see blood and bone.
"There were a lot of French journalists screaming, 'Get a doctor,
get a doctor'. There was a great sense of panic because these walls
are very thin. "We saw the tanks up on the bridge. They started
firing across the bank. The shells were landing either side of us at
what we thought were military targets. Then we were hit. We are in
the middle of a tank battle.
"I don't understand why they were doing that. There was no fire
coming out of this hotel - everyone knows it's full of journalists.
"Everybody is putting on flak jackets. Everybody is running for
cover. We now feel extremely vulnerable and we are now going to say
goodbye to you." The line was cut but minutes later Chater resumed
his report, saying journalists had been watching American forces
from their balconies and the troops had surely been aware of their
"They knew exactly what this hotel is. They know the press corps
is here. I don't know why they are trying to target journalists.
There are awful scenes around me. There's a Reuters tent just a few
yards away from me where people are in tears. It makes you realise
how vulnerable you are.
What are we supposed to do? How are we supposed to carry on if
American shells are targeting Western journalists?"
the OTHER WAR - non-embedded JOURNALISTS?
Just minutes after I began this report on
journalists killed, missing, or beaten in Iraq, another report
came in from
"Seven Italian journalists covering the war in Iraq have gone
missing near the southern city of Basra after running into a
group of armed men, colleagues traveling with the journalists
have said. The special correspondents for various Italian
newspapers have not checked in with their offices since 3:00 pm
(1400 GMT) Friday, officials said. The foreign ministry said
late Friday it was putting all means in place to find out where
My initial focus was on the Israeli and Portuguese reporters who
were apprehended. The journalists - two Israelis and a
Portuguese television reporter - were allegedly held by US
troops and accused of espionage. ''If true, this maltreatment of
journalists is a grave violation of journalists' rights. This
incident must be investigated and those responsible brought to
justice,'' said the Brussels-based IFJ. The journalists, Dan
Scemama, of Israel's Channel 1 TV, Boaz Bismuth of the Israeli
Yediot Aharonot and Louis de Castro of Radio Television
Portugal, were traveling alongside American convoys, but were
not officially ''embedded''
with the troops.
This piece had me really tripping because the count wasn't that
high yesterday and it doesn't include the 7 Italians just
Nine Journalists Missing, Others Beaten By US Troops
"Other press freedom organization - Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
speaks about more dangerous situation. According to this
organization nine journalists are missing in the "front line"
and two others - ITN's Terry Lloyd and Australian cameraman Paul
Moran, of Australia's ABC TV, already killed. At least two other
journalists have been wounded."
warned they are targets: The Australian Government has
warned journalists in northern Iraq to leave the area. A new
travel advice issued for Iraq says there is information
pro-Saddam groups may be preparing to target westerners in the
north, including media representatives." This page has a
chronological list of missing or dead journalists.
I began getting really suspicious about what really
happened/happening to all the journalists involved and after
reading this, I'm going hmmm, yeah, HELL YES!
"Another novel element of this war that is creating
unanticipated problems for the Bush administration is the
specter of "embedded reporters". These are television, print and
radio journalists "embedded"
within and traveling with military units on the battlefield to
cover the war, on condition that they do not report sensitive
military information. The decision to have these embedded
reporters was clearly based on the premise that they would be
filing back reports and images of Iraqi soldiers surrendering
without a fight, of the systematic crumbling of a decadent
regime and of jubilant Iraqi crowds welcoming their
"liberators." Contrary to these expectations, these embedded
reporters are filing back gruesome reports of executed and
captured or missing American soldiers and heart-wrenching
stories of devastated Iraqi families - innocent men, women and
children killed and maimed by American bombs falling on Baghdad.
The Bush administration's exasperation with the press was demonstarted Friday by remarks from senior officials calling
media skepticism over the war "silly." It is dangerously unwise
for the adminsitration to alienate the press at this time."
Don't you just love the part about the Bush administration's
exasperation with the press? How the press's role was
uncorrectly assumed? I, like most, were buying the stories about
the journalists killed and even those missing. This is a big
what if, but what if dry drunk Bush issued orders to take out
some of the press, in hopes they'd get the message and leave in
droves. Was the word out? I was particularily flabbersgasted
about the Portuguese journalist. I watch him on TV.
Nope this just isn't ringing true. "March 28 — With American
troops fighting their way to Baghdad, Bush administration
officials have opened a second front at home, voicing
frustration with news media coverage of the war. In the struggle
to shape public opinion, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and
other administration officials seemed determined to overcome
what they see as “mood swings” and second-guessing by reporters
and analysts which they fear could sap public support for the
Tell it, Donnie. " When a reporter asked Rumsfeld whether his
planners had miscalculated the likelihood of the Iraqi people
welcoming U.S. troops as liberators, Rumsfeld snapped, “don’t
you think it’s a little premature, that question? We’ll know the
answer to that as portions of the country are liberated. We’ll
have people on the ground
embedded with our forces who’ll have a chance to see what
From an article about the deaths of British reporter Terry Lloyd
and Australian cameraman, Paul Moran, found while checking out
"Neither of the journalists were "embedded,"
or assigned to accompany a military unit of the coalition
On Saturday, Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke expressed
condolences to the families of "journalists who were not
embedded with coalition forces that have been killed and
Clarke urged news organizations to pull back their non-embedded
journalists, or so-called "unilaterals," from combat zones in
"We ask all new organizations to exercise restraint, especially
with their journalists who are out there operating freely and
ask them to exercise restraint. There are risks. Combat
operations are moving in a fast and unpredictable fashion. The
coalition forces will of course exercise extreme care whenever
there are noncombatants. However, reporters who get between
coalition and Iraqi forces put themselves at extreme risk,"
Clarke told reporters at a Pentagon briefing.
Those who are working as “unilaterals,”
traveling and reporting independently of U.S. or British troops,
are most at risk. Other correspondents—including some at
NEWSWEEK—have narrowly escaped death. NEWSWEEK’s Jennifer
Barrett spoke with Joel Simon, acting director of the Committee
to Protect Journalists, about how well protected journalists are
in Iraq and how that is affecting the way the war is reported.
"In my view, independent journalism is critical. They are
reporting stories that journalists embedded with the troops
cannot, such as reporting on what Iraqis think. They are getting
some pretty intense stuff."
That pretty intense stuff is the crux of the matter. They have
enraged the Pentagon, pissed Bush off immensely and one way or
another they're going to be silenced.
OHBOY. Back to the Israeli's and the Portuguese reporter.
After they were freed, one of the Israeli's had this to say. "He
added that he had received the impression that the American army
had done everything it could to ensure that not one independent
journalist was reporting from Iraq."
Now I can't help but fear for the safety of Christopher
back-to-iraq.com, going it alone after raising money from
readers, who according to his last entry, is getting ready to
cross into Syria.
I wouldn't have the guts to put my life on the line for a story,
but I sure applaud and admire those who do. This has taken too
big a toll on journalists already. If I could give them some
advice, I'd tell them to get out now, but I know that would fall
on deaf ears. This is their heroin.
"Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that
cannot be limited without being lost"
The BBC and Dead Journalists
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
The BBC runs a lot of stories which are little more than
rewriting some organization or another's press release. I don't
necessarily have a problem with that, except when they can't be bothered
to be even slightly circumspect about being accurate when they are doing
so. I mean, if all you're doing is rewriting someone's press release, how
hard can it be to get things right?
Apparently, its rather difficult for the BBC. Take
from January 2004, for example, about a report on the number of
journalists killed in 2004. The story notes in alarming language that 129
journalists were killed last year according to the International
Federation of Journalists -- the most ever since that group began keeping
Here's how the BBC describes the deaths of journalists,
The IFJ said that in almost every corner of the globe journalists
were targeted and killed by the enemies of press freedom.
Another dangerous place to work was the Philippines where 13
journalists were murdered, many of them for reporting on corruption,
crime and drugs trafficking.
The IFJ said governments have a duty to do more to protect
journalists and to find out how and why they died.
Working conditions, particularly for local investigative reporters,
were becoming more and more risky, the group added.
The clear implication is that journalists are being murdered right and
left for trying to report the truth -- which, to some extent, they are.
But the BBC deceives by not bothering to repeat the IJF's clear caveat
that its stats on dead journalists include quite a few who died
For example, it includes in those 129 deaths several individuals who
died after their plane crashed while trying to get a perfect shot set up
for a photographer. It also includes cases of reporters who died in car
accidents while heading to cover a story. It even includes the tragic
death of a young Texas reporter who died when the large boom antenna on a
mobile broadcast van hit powerlines and the journalist was electrocuted.
All tragedies but hardly representing the persecution of the press that
the BBC implies that all 129 deaths represent.
'Deadliest' year for journalists. Chris Morris, The BBC, January 18,
Riding the Tale of the
How America Kills Iraqi Journalists for Their Own Good
by Lila Rajiva
January 24, 2006
Michael Schrage, a former Washington Post columnist and current
MIT security studies maven recently penned a column in the
Outlook section of the Washington Post about the US
strategy of paying Iraqi journalists to place stories favorable
to the US in the media. The strategy, originally revealed by the
LA Times on December 2005, provoked condemnation from
journalists as far apart as Christopher Hitchens, leftist
addition to the militerati, and Alexander Cockburn. An egregious
breach of journalistic ethics was the consensus view.
already,” says Schrage in his Post piece. “Securing
positive coverage for our troops in Iraq can be as important to
their safety as "up-armoring" vehicles and providing
state-of-the-art body armor. The failure to wage the media war
is a failure to command.” (1)
extent that Schrage is arguing that massaging the news is not a
recent development for the military, he is right. Fake news is
not new. It’s been part of military offensives since Neanderthal
man first tricked his neighbor and clubbed him over the head. In
the Indian epic, Mahabharata, the eldest of the five
Pandava brothers who are the rightful heirs to the kingdom of
Bharatha is legendary for always speaking the truth. Until, that
is, things come to a head during the battle between the Pandavas
and the usurping Kauravas, with their unstoppable warrior-guru
Drona. A plan is concocted to demoralize Drona by spreading the
lie that his son Ashvathama is dead. Ashvathama, it happens, is
also the name of an elephant -- which actually is dead.
Yudhishthira, until then so faultlessly truthful that his
chariot wheels never touch the ground, succumbs and allows
himself to whisper – “Ashvathama , the elephant (sottovoce),
is dead.” The grief-stricken Drona believes the rumor and dies.
The tide turns for the Pandavas, but Yudhishthira’s wheels start
hitting the ground like everyone else’s.
seems to think that “US story-boarding” is no more than an
episode in this sainted tradition. But, using disinformation to
hoodwink the armed enemy on a classical battlefield -- under
strict and chivalrous laws of engagement -- is one thing. Using
it to deceive the civilian population in an enemy country in
21st century conditions of total war is another. And using it to
bamboozle neutrals, friendlies, and worst of all, your own
domestic population is something else altogether.
chariot wheels are not just firmly on the ground. They are
burrowing down into Hades. The Iraq news faking was directed not
only at the population in the new “democracy” but at the
population in the US and its allies. And it makes a sham of
democratic participation. It denies people even the tiniest
crumbs of information about the progress of a war in which they
are expected to immolate their children. Volunteering for the
republic under those terms is not much more than Aztec child
misstates a few other important things. They did it first,
he says, arguing that the controversial “information
ops” were launched as a defensive measure against Iraqi
insurgents who were spreading lies about the coalition and
attacking pro-American Iraqi media.
Defensive? The Iraqi insurgents by definition did not come into
existence until after the fall of Baghdad, i.e., in the
summer of 2003. US disinformation in Iraq on the other hand has
been percolating in the region at least since before Gulf
War I -- fifteen years ago.
fifteen years ago that the Washington, DC PR firm Hill &
Knowlton hatched the fable that is now a cliché of atrocity
stories -- that Iraqi soldiers in Kuwait were tossing babies out
of incubators, a psy-op directed not against Iraqis but against
the American public and Congress. The Kuwaiti ambassador’s
daughter Nayirah -- at the time nowhere in the vicinity -- even
put in a tear-jerking I-was-there account of the baby-toss on
the floor of the US Congress.
firm, Rendon, hired by the CIA in 1990 to help “create the
conditions for the removal of Hussein from power,” went on to
earn a hundred million dollars in government contracts in just
the five years following. It got together anti-Saddam militants,
gave them a “brand” -- the Iraqi National Congress, and advised
them on PR strategy. It also handpicked Ahmad Chalabi, the
ex-bank con turned peddler of pro-war propaganda, and primed a
flyspecked assortment of defectors in the fine art of bluffing
polygraphs. All to further neo-conservative plans for creative
destruction in the Middle East.
lie detector tests didn’t stop Rendon from planting fake stories
about Saddam’s supposed stash of WMD. One channel was Paul
Moran, a paid operative masquerading as a freelancer for the
mammoth Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Why Australia?
Because by law the Bush administration is forbidden from
propagandizing the American public directly. Leave that to
journalists with calloused knees like Moran or the submissive
Judith Miller -- recently martyred at the New York Times
-- who gave heads up to the flim-flam on the front pages of the
gray lady herself. From there the faux-news spread like avian
flu to chicken-hawks world-wide - making the 2003 war almost
entirely a creation of the Western media. So much for the “free”
perhaps this fandango was being performed beyond the decorous
sight of the military? Think again. Rendon is authorized “to
research and analyze information classified up to Top
Secret/SCI/SI/TK/G/HCS” -- acronyms that indicate access to the
most secret information available from all three types of
intelligence collection: electronic eavesdropping, satellite
imagery and spies on the ground -- a level of clearance given to
only a handful of defense contractors.
worked in ninety-one countries,” boasts firm boss, John Rendon.
“Going all the way back to Panama, we've been involved in every
war, with the exception of Somalia.” (2) And in
the mid-nineties, when the CIA lost faith with Chalabi and
Rendon, the pair just rolled over to the Pentagon, reporting to
the J-3, at the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Legitimate Pentagon
public relations -- to the alarm of many military men -- has
been wallowing neck-deep in psy-ops in Iraq for years now. So,
to argue as Schrage does, that the military was slow-footed
about the media war, is nothing short of ludicrous.
didn’t work alone, either. It coordinated its work with a whole
bevy of wholesalers of disinformation. In 2001, just after 9-11,
the Pentagon also created the Office of Strategic Information
(OSI) as an express line for junk news -- an office whose
briefings even the military reportedly found “scary.” Rendon may
not have worked directly for the OSI, which soon shut down under
public pressure, but it certainly did for the OSI’s successor,
the Information Operations Task Force, nestled one layer deeper
in the labyrinth of Pentagon bureaucracy.
was also tuned into the Office of Global Communications, run
right out of the White House “Information War Room.” The OGC
monitored and counter-attacked breaking news reports all over
the globe, snatching them up as soon as they tapped out of
journalists’ keyboards with the help of “Livewire”, Rendon’s
cutting-edge wire collection system. The scope of the monitoring
was staggering: English and Arabic internet chatrooms, web sites
in at least four more languages, e-mail lists. The Pentagon also
ran a massive “media mapping” campaign against news
organizations like Al Jazeera, analyzing individual journalists,
twisting the arms of those who were critical, and planting false
stories abroad. OGC was tasked with punishing journalists who
broke ranks in Jakarta, Islamabad, Riyadh, Cairo, Ankara, and
Tashkent, venues deeply implicated in the Global War on Terror.
(3) Propaganda, psy-ops, espionage. An
inseparable and intricately plotted whole in the Empire today,
not some dazed afterthought, as Schrage wants us to us believe.
simply ignores the crucial fact that private contractors like
Rendon -- who now perform half of the CIA’s work -- are
completely unaccountable to Congress. Think about it. Private
contractors run half the nation’s most secret military
operations and they don’t have to say a word about what they do
to the people who foot the bill and face the fire. Yet, in spite
of this, Schrage talks about the media war as it if it were
somehow gingerly choreographed by a crew of abstemious social
workers who wouldn’t know a financial incentive or a private
agenda if it was served up with arugala on a platter.
claims are just as incredible. Unfair, he says, to hold the
“nascent Iraqi media” to “American ethical standards.” The
nascent -- in fact, stillborn -- Iraqi media is, of
course, run by America; presumably, it should have no
trouble at all reaching “American ethical standards”. But some
might reasonably ask where those standards have been for at
least a decade. First, there were the blatant distortions in the
run-up to both Gulf Wars. Then, there was the media blackout of
the interim in which Iraq was strangled in slow motion by
sanctions. Where were mainstream journalists then? Struck dumb
by an excess of ethics, it seems. Embeds, video news-releases,
whole-sale news scripting, vetting from on high,
self-censorship, selective coverage, outright propaganda . . .
journalists may have to remove a log or two from their own eyes
before squinting after motes abroad.
according to Schrage, the military is only faking the news
because otherwise Iraq would be dominated by the “one-sided
thuggery and threat” issuing from Iraqi insurgents. He cites a
report of the Committee to Protect Journalists that more than 40
Iraqi journalists have been killed since the toppling of Saddam
Hussein. Indeed they have. A huge number of them by American
death toll according to the CPJ web site: 14 dead journalists in
2003, 24 in 2004 and 22 in 2005, 60 in all, making Iraq the
world’s bloodiest spot today for the profession. Only two of
these dead journalists were American. Well over two-thirds were
Iraqis or other Arabs. And the American military killed 13 of
them. 13 confirmed killings. Most of them initially denied and
later admitted under pressure from reporters and eyewitnesses.
Of the other deaths, 36 are attributed to “insurgents, suicide
bombers and cross-fire.” Crossfire episodes can half be laid at
the door of the US. So we can assume that that’s at least
another six journalists who were killed by the US. Then, there
were also 18 “unrecognized” killings. Since most of the killings
that were clearly identified were identified to have been
committed by the US, we can fairly assume that at least half of
those that were not identified, should also have
been committed by the US. Conservatively, then, around 29
journalists -- almost ten a year -- appear to have been knocked
off by American firepower in three years. And most of the
victims were Iraqi journalists working in their own country.
(4) Ripe numbers these. Worthy of
goose-stepping dictators, not the world’s most influential
republic and de facto leader of the West.
fairly damning in all this, also, is that it is pretty well
documented that U.S. forces routinely detained Iraqi newsmen for
weeks or months without charges or evidence because of what they
filmed or photographed. That makes accusations that the US
actually targeted journalists for killing seem entirely
there was a one-sided threat in Iraq. It was the US
goes on to argue that media restraints in occupied Japan and
Germany “make Iraq's information environment look as unregulated
as the blogosphere,” when in fact, the “unregulated” blogosphere
is quite heavily monitored by US intelligence. How could it not
be? It’s a creature of the addictive culture of advertising.
When it’s not mainlining on PR masquerading as news, it’s
overdosing on planted stories and sites.
Athenian agora that Schrage makes it out to be.
cites the “Information Control Division” which oversaw the
denazification of West Germany media. By 1946, he says, the US
controlled “37 newspapers, 6 radio stations, 314 theatres, 642
movies, 101 magazines, 237 book publishers, 7,384 book dealers
and printers.” It also published a newspaper with 1.5 million in
circulation and 3 magazines, ran the Associated Press of
Germany, and operated 20 library centers. This, he claims, has
not been equaled since. No? In fact, Iraq’s old radio and TV
networks, now called al-Iraqiya, the national newspaper, and
several related papers are all run by the US and by US proxies;
Iraqi opposition journalists are coached and coerced by the US;
Iraqi media is flooded with bogus stories; and all this in a
global environment suffocating in a unprecedented miasma of
doublespeak issuing from the major TV networks.
John Rendon -- who should know -- does not seem to suffer from
any illusion that the US vise on world media has loosened. This
is how he describes the scene just after 9-11:
We were doing 195 newspapers and
43 countries in fourteen or fifteen languages. If you do this
correctly, I can tell you what's on the evening news tonight in
a country before it happens. I can give you, as a policymaker, a
six-hour break on how you can affect what's going to be on the
news. They'll take that in a heartbeat.
leaves his best laugh for the end. “The more stable, open and
prosperous a society Iraq becomes, the more the need for a
military role in local media will evaporate,” he says. Warming
to this theme of a Jeffersonian Iraq a-borning, he claims that
in ten years, the Iraqis will be complaining about their “fair
and balanced” media like Westerners.
patronizing tone might be unintended. But that a sophisticated
journalist and political scientist should really believe that
popular disgust with the corporate media is a merit-badge for an
“open and prosperous” society; that Iraqis will, with luck, be
able to wear that badge in another ten years (how convenient
that the figure should match US military goals in the region);
and that US propaganda is “a positive contribution to their
[Iraqi] civil society,” because it makes them skeptical of what
they hear (Saddam somehow couldn’t quite manage that) -- all
without the slightest blush or twinge of irony, does say one
thing, however. It tells us exactly how successful the US media
war has been. Not over there in Iraq. But out here in the US.
freelance writer in Baltimore, and the author of the must-read
The Language of Empire: Abu Ghraib and
the US Media
Review Press, 2005) She can be reached at:
Copyright (c) 2006 by Lila Rajiva
Every Article In the Arsenal,” Michael Schrage, Washington
Post, January 15, 2006;INSI NEWS RELEASE
Iraq War journalist death toll rises to 80
(2) “The Man Who Sold the War,” James Bamford, Rolling Stone,
November 17, 2005.
Brussels, 5 August, 2006 - The murder of an American
freelance journalist this week takes the total news media death toll in the
Iraq War to 80.
Journalists and other newsgathering staff from 16
countries have died since the war began in March 2003 - almost three a month
-- according to figures compiled by the International News Safety Institute
But the vast majority of the dead are Iraqi. Fifty-six
have now died trying to report their country for their compatriots and the
"Every single civilian death in this war is to be
mourned, but a free press is critical for a free and fearless society. Hopes
of a new democracy rising from the ashes of post-Saddam Iraq are being
buried alongside these brave reporters," said INSI Director Rodney Pinder.
Forty-nine of the dead journalists -- almost two-thirds
of the total -- were murdered by insurgents.
Thirteen were killed by US troops and 7 died in
crossfire. Two were killed by Iraqi forces before the fall of Saddam Hussein
and one was believed to have been shot by Iraqi troops working with the
US-led coalition. Eight died in accidents or from health problems.
There is no firm evidence that US forces deliberately
sought to kill journalists, though the absence of open inquiries into
killings continues to fuel widespread suspicions. No one is known to have
been held to account for the death of any journalist in Iraq.
There are many instances of apparently deliberate slaying
of reporters by unidentified insurgents.
The latest victim, American journalist Steven Vincent,
was writing about the rise of conservative Shi'ite Islam and the corruption
of Iraqi police. He was kidnapped in Basra by at least two men wearing
police uniform and driving a police car, witnesses said. He was dumped in
the street after being shot three times and his Iraqi interpreter was
"People who murder reporters are no freedom fighters,"
Pinder said. "They are nothing more than murderous thugs who fear the light
of free reporting."
Vincent was the first American journalist to be attacked
and killed during the war. The others died in accidents or from health
As well as the 56 Iraqis, the war has claimed the lives
of journalists and support staff from Algeria, Argentina (2), Australia (2),
Britain (3), Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan (2), Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine,
Poland, Spain (2), Ukraine and the United States (4).
By comparison, the Vietnam war claimed about 70 news
media dead over 20 years.
INSI has held two safety training courses in Iraqi for
Iraqi journalists and plans three more in coming months. Applicants should
contact INSI Deputy Director Sarah de Jong by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone +32 22 35 2201.
"We are particularly anxious to provide this help to
Iraqi cameramen, the unsung heroes behind most of the news footage we see on
our screens every day," Pinder said.
email@example.com or by phone +44 7734 709 267