Vol. 5 Num 479 Fri. September 30, 2005  

Reuters Says
US troops obstruct reporting of Iraq

The conduct of US 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 US 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 US troops with Defence 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 US forces in Iraq."

He urged Warner to demand that Rumsfeld resolve these issues "in a way that best balances the legitimate security interests of the US forces in Iraq and the equally legitimate rights of journalists in conflict zones under international law."

At least 66 journalists and media workers, most of them Iraqis, have been killed in the Iraq conflict since March 2003.

US forces acknowledge killing three Reuters journalists, most recently soundman Waleed Khaled who was shot by American soldiers on August 28 while on assignment in Baghdad. But the military say the soldiers were justified in opening fire.