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WAR: Reuters says US troops obstruct reporting of Iraq

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posted on Sep, 28 2005 @ 08:42 PM
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The global managing editor of the Reuters news service, David Schlesinger, has accused the U.S. military of limiting the ability of independent journalist to operate in Iraq. In a letter to Senator John Warner, head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Schlesinger outlined what he refered to as a "long parade" of incidents including incident where journalists have killed, wrongfully detained, and/or illegally abused by U.S. forces in Iraq. He hopes the panel will raise the issue with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
 



news.yahoo.com
LONDON (Reuters) - The conduct of U.S. troops in Iraq, including increasing detention and accidental shootings of journalists, is preventing full coverage of the war reaching the American public, Reuters said on Wednesday.

In a letter to Virginia Republican Sen. John Warner, head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Reuters said U.S. forces were limiting the ability of independent journalists to operate.

The letter from Reuters Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger called on Warner to raise widespread media concerns about the conduct of U.S. troops with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who is due to testify to the committee on Thursday.

Schlesinger referred to "a long parade of disturbing incidents whereby professional journalists have been killed, wrongfully detained, and/or illegally abused by U.S. forces in Iraq."


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


As the war drags on, I would not be surprised if there was an attempt to rein in the media to reduce the amounts of negative reports coming from the area. While I do not think reporters are being actively hunted and killed, I can see how it would be easy to deny access to reporters in that type of environment. While I applaud his efforts, I think he is naive if the thinks old Rummy will care one bit.




posted on Sep, 28 2005 @ 08:56 PM
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The only way to stop this occuring is to keep it as public as possible. Each incident of tampering with journalism should be reported in reuters headlines. That will soon make the military accountable to the people. Free Press is a right of all humanity. Once the freedom of the press is stifled then we are no better of than Russians under the iron curtain or Germans being trampled by the propoganda machine.



posted on Sep, 28 2005 @ 09:17 PM
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As I recall, the military has had a policy of attaching (or embedding) journalists to combat units ever since this war started. I believe they are still following this policy today. The policy was, as I remember, adopted to prevent journalists from publishing current operations articles that could ostensibly lead to the deaths of troops involved in those operations or the deaths of journalists not known to be in the vicinity of a combat operation.

Geraldo Riveria was basically booted out of Afganistan for not following those policies--as I remember. I'll bet Reuters has detached its journalists from combat units and sent them out without the military's knowledge or approval. If that's the case, some of those journalists are going to get killed by combat units who don't know who they are or that they are even in the area.

Truthfully, this sounds more like a pissing contest between Reuters and the military over who sets the rules and who follows them.



posted on Sep, 29 2005 @ 01:39 AM
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I understand where Reuters is coming from on this, but just in case they've forgotten, let me point out that we didn't invade Iraq because it makes for a good news story. I'm not exactly sure why we did invade Iraq (I could name a few good reasons, and a few not so good reasons, but I don't know which of them is -the- reason) but whatever the reason was, it has come to entail quite a bit of shooting and being shot at. This activity takes precedence over providing a pleasant work environment for the carnage-mongers... um i mean reporters.

I'm not saying that the US Military has a right to twist news coverage for the purpose of deceiving the public, and if that is being charged then it's another matter (and one which I can't possibly know the truth of). What I am saying is that for the average grunt, the list of priorities probably looks something like this:
1. Don't get shot or otherwise killed.
2. Kill lots of bad guys.
3. Keep your weapon clean and serviceable.
4. Get to chow on time, and keep your canteens full.
5. Find a way to keep sand out of your most sensitive orifices.
6. Avoid arresting, detaining, or interfering with, or mistakenly shooting the carnage mongers.

I know these college educated weenies are used to looking down their nose at the blue collar types from whom they usually recieve undivided attention as they churn out graphic media content, propaganda, and partisan spin- but when the blue collar guy is a grunt in a combat zone, the shock-jocks of the newsmedia and their all-important pulitzer ambitions take a back seat to the items I listed as numbers 1-5, and rightfully so.

My advice: work on you communications skills, do things by the numbers, always inform the jarheads before pointing ANYTHING at them- even if you think they'll know it's a camera.
If you do that and you still get shot at- well then maybe the US Military is doing it on purpose, and that's an even bigger story than the war itself- so really it's a win-win situation.



posted on Sep, 29 2005 @ 07:28 AM
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56 journalists have been killed so far in the line of duty in Iraq, 13 of them by U.S. fire. In comparision, approximately 66-71 journalists were reported killed during the Indo-Chinese and Vietnam war(s combined), between 1955-1975.

Committee to Protect Journalists

For one reason or another, Iraq is proving a deadly war for journalists as well as just about everyone else caught up in the conflict. I will not speculate on the reasons, but the bottom line is these men and women are dying while trying to get a story out, without which we be completely reliant on insurgent home videos on the one hand and DoD press releases on the other. I, for one, am very grateful to them. Clearly, accidental shootings will happen, but if these deaths are not being properly investigated, I consider it a serious lapse of the DoD's duty, under both international and American law.

To imply that the situation these journalists find themselves in is a "win-win" situation sounds to me like a serious perversion of logic. I would be very surprised to meet a war correspondent who would truly be happy to see a colleague shot by the US armed forces while serving in Iraq, deliberately or not. It may make for a compelling story, but these people are human beings who share a spirit of comradeship with their colleagues not unlike that shared between soldiers in the same surroundings. At the very least, seeing a colleague shot just reinforces the knowledge that you could be next.

-koji K.



posted on Sep, 29 2005 @ 07:36 AM
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Nice Find!



Here is my contribution to this Thread from my previous topics:

13 Confirmed Cases of Journalists Killed in Iraq by U.S. Forces

Iraq Worse Than Vietnam -- in Number of Journalists Killed

Aslo You might want to check this one:

In Bed With Pentagon




posted on Sep, 29 2005 @ 12:00 PM
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Originally posted by koji_K
To imply that the situation these journalists find themselves in is a "win-win" situation sounds to me like a serious perversion of logic.


Or just the typical sarcastic twist of a post from yours truly
.
I'm not happy with the fact that anybody is being shot, and I don't rule out the possibility that either negligence or conspiracy on the part of the DoD has something to do with this.
I do however realize that these reporters are making a decision to go into the midst of an urban guerilla war, which is carries one of the highest imagineable levels of direct danger from the enemy, as well as a highly amplified secondary danger from US troops who are constantly trying to spot which of the "civilians" around them might be sizing them up for a pine overcoat.
In theory, the mission is paramount. The men are a close second- a lot of us would put it the other way around actually. The safety of reporters who insist not only on getting their facts direct instead of from the DoD (which is commendable), but on actually being in the midst of the action to photograph the carnage (which in my view has a horrible risk-reward ratio and probably shouldn't be done), is a tertiary goal.

Gee, is that unidentified man down the street with a large black object on his shoulder an insurgent or a reporter? If I were in that situation- I wouldn't ask the question- I'd be too busy shooting him before he shoots me. If I did somehow stop to ask the question though, I'd still choose to shoot him.

This is a problem and needs to be circumvented by planning and attention to detail on the part of the people who don't already have more important things to do- namely the reporters. They have to do an impeccable job of distinctively marking themselves, checking and double-checking that their travel plans and reporting assignments are cleared and disseminated down the chain of command, making contact with US forces in the area when they are out doing their thing, staying out of areas where people keep getting killed, and of course, then if journalists keep getting shot and inquiries show that the journalists didn't screw up, THEN it's time to start investigating what the heck is wrong with either the troops or the people giving them their orders.



posted on Sep, 29 2005 @ 12:22 PM
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Fair enough. When you put it this way, I agree.
While the DoD should investigate incidents of shooting reporters, perhaps it would also be warranted if the journalists reviewed their own procedures for coordinating with coalition forces.

-koji K.



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