Stop Your Reporting (or We'll Kill Your Reporters Again?)

  1. Is Fallujah America's Jenin? NH

    U.S. Forces Want Al-Jazeera Out Of Fallujah
    By Mustafa Abdel-Halim, IOL Correspondent

    CAIRO, April 9 ( - The United States asked al-Jazeera team to leave Fallujah as one of conditions for reaching a settlement to the bloody stand-off in the besieged western Baghdad town Friday, April 9.

    "American forces declared al-Jazeera must leave before any progress is made to settle the Fallujah stand-off," al-Jazeera director general Wadah Khanfar told, citing sources close to the Iraqi Governing Council.

    Khanfar, the former Baghdad bureau chairman of the station, declined to speculate on reasons for putting al-Jazeera departure as "part of solving the crisis".

    He also denied receiving "any threats or notification statements" from the U.S. occupation forces recently.

    Khanfar also dismissed charges of bias in the coverage of the Fallujah raids, which resulted in more than 400 people killed including women and children.

    "We are just carrying out our work as professionally as possible. We describe the situation on the ground as is," Khanfar said.

    "We try to be objective. The situation there bear a sign of humanitarian crisis. We just shed light on this," he stressed.

    A correspondent for the Qatar-based station - speaking live from Fallujah - had warned Friday against a "humanitarian crisis" in the town if the U.S. soldiers did not end their attack on the densely-populated areas.

    He said that local inhabitants are furious over the inaction of Arab and Muslim countries as well as the international community.

    Only Media Outlet

    "We are just carrying out our work as professionally as possible," Khanfar

    The channel - Khanfar added, is probably the only media in Fallujah, where its correspondent seized hours of the channel's air time to convey the deteriorating situation over the past few days.

    The correspondent in Fallujah said that even besieged local inhabitants of the town follow the latest developments in their bastion of resistance through al-Jazeera.

    Corpses are littered in the streets as U.S. warplanes hit the only hospital and other makeshift medical centers, he added.

    As Brig Gen Mark Kimmitt, the deputy director of U.S. military operations in Iraq, was speaking by phone on al-Jazeera and insisting that American forces declared a unilateral ceasefire in Fallujah, the channel was airing live images of continued air raids by F16 fighter jets on residential neighborhoods of the town.

    Kimmitt later dismissed the coverage of the channel for the crisis as a "series of lies". However, asked by al-Jazeera anchor about the live images, the U.S. commander said he was not accusing al-Jazeera of faking the images, but rather "looked at things differently".

    He said the attacks by F16 fighter jets and helicopters were meant to take out "armed insurgents firing at our troops". The anchor reminded Kimmitt, however, that "live coverage showed children and women killed by the missiles, not armed insurgents".

    Observers see the U.S. highly unusual demand for al-Jazeera to leave Fallujah as a sign of crisis of credibility the U.S. forces face in the eyes of the Iraqis as well as people all over the Arab and Islamic world.

    Known for its quality programs, professionalism and independence, "the CNN of the Arab world" is the most-watched channel in this part of the world.


    Khanfar expressed hopes - brimming with fears - that the three correspondents now in Fallujah "would not meet the same fate of Tarik Ayyuob".

    On April 8, 2003, one year ago, U.S. forces hit with missiles al-Jazeera office in Baghdad, killing Ayyoub just a few hours before rolling into the capital.

    The channel officials charged the missile attack was a "deliberate" strike, recalling that the office of the station had been hit in November 2001 during the U.S.-led assault on the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

    Khanfar, however, put up a defiant tone, saying the station's team - also including a number of engineers and photographers - would not get out of the town "voluntarily".

    "We are not a political party in the crisis. We are just media guys," Khanfar said.

    Having the station's headquarters, Qatar also plays host to the U.S Central Command, which directs the military invasion of Iraq as of March 20. It has one of the largest U.S. military bases in the Arab Gulf.

    Strained Relations

    U.S. Marines fire mortar shells in the outskirts of Fallujah

    Relations between the channel and Washington have been always running on a collision course.

    Al-Jazeera website was downed by hackers since Tuesday, March 25, a few days after Washington and London blasted the station for its footages of dead U.S. and British soldiers and captured PoWs.

    During his visit in October last year, Qatari Emir and the principal shareholder of al-Jazeera, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, was reportedly asked to put pressure on the channel to curb what the U.S. called "anti-American coverage".

    U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed on November 25 he has seen reports suggesting al-Jazeera have cooperated with Iraqi resistance fighters attacking U.S. troops.

    "They are hurting us," Rumsfeld was quoted as saying on Al-Jazeera and Dubai-based Al-Arabiya station.

    On November 24, the U.S.-handpicked Governing Council banned Al-Arabiya from working in Iraq, charging it with incitement to murder.

    Abu Dhabi TV also announced in April last year that its Baghdad bureau had been hit and broadcast a live report showing its camera position under attack.

    With 19 journalists killed in Iraq, 14 during the war, five in the aftermath, and two missing presumed dead, 2003 was one of the bloodiest years in recent times for war reporters.

    Sixty-four journalists were killed across the world in 2003, 19 of them in Iraq, according to a report published by the International Press Institute (IPI) in March 10.

    On August 18, in yet another crime against journalists in occupied Iraq, U.S. troops shot dead an award-winning Reuters cameraman while he was filming on Sunday, August 17, near a U.S.-run detention camp in Baghdad.
  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   teeituptom
    Reporters are just like Lawyers

    Deep down they are all good

    6 feet down anyway
  4. by   NurseHardee
    US military 'pressuring' journalists

    Patrick Barrett
    Wednesday April 14, 2004 The Guardian
    Al-Jazeera: accused of taking an 'anti-coalition stance'

    The US military has been accused of threatening the media covering the conflict in Iraq and pressuring journalists into presenting a one-sided picture of events.
    Al-Jazeera, the Arab TV channel, made the accusations after a US army spokesman, Brigadier General Kimmitt, accused the station and the Dubai-based al-Arabiya news channel, of taking an "anti-coalition" stance in their reporting.

    The already fractious relationship between the US military in Iraq and Arab media has been made more difficult by pictures of wounded civilians within the besieged town of Falluja. The American administration in Iraq accused al-Jazeera of exaggerating the number of civilian casualties and helping to boost anti-coalition sentiment.

    The US marine commander in charge of Falluja has said the majority of the estimated 600 people killed in the four-day conflict were legitimate targets, saying, "95% of those were military age males that were killed in the fighting". However al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya have repeatedly shown pictures of women and children among the dead and injured.

    In a statement the TV channel said the US military was putting "unjustified pressure on the media".

    "Al-Jazeera rejects these accusations and considers them a threat to the right of the media to cover the reality in Iraq amid a difficult and complex situation on the ground."

    Al-Jazeera's accusations follow suggestions that US soldiers fired on a reporting team from the station based in Falluja and had made the removal of al-Jazeera's crew from the town one of its terms for a ceasefire with the rebels.

    A spokesman added that the station felt compelled to make it clear to viewers that it was broadcasting an unbiased account of events in Iraq.

    "We felt it was a grave accusation and wanted to set the record straight. Al-Jazeera is determined to maintain its professional integrity and reporting in a balanced way," he said.

    Al-Jazeera's claims come amid increasing concern that the mounting dangers facing western journalists in Iraq could mean the end of independent reporting from the country.

    'We will not operate outside Baghdad'

    James Hider, a Times reporter who is embedded with US Marines near the front line outside Falluja, said the threat of kidnapping had become so acute that the majority of western journalists were no longer venturing beyond Baghdad.

    "It was very serious even before the current situation, but for the past month it has got much worse. The kidnappings and shooting are coming thick and fast.

    "We've more or less decided not to operate outside Baghdad. A lot of pretty seasoned war correspondents have decided it's not worth the risk," Hider told

    Hider, whose colleague Stephen Farrell was kidnapped and eventually released last week, said the only way he and a group of other western media personnel had made it to Falluja was on heavily armed US helicopter gunships.

    Francis Harris, the deputy foreign news editor at the Daily

    Telegraph, said the situation in Iraq could get to the stage where the paper would consider withdrawing its reporters.
    "It could come to that. What would trigger an exodus is something bad happening to a British journalist.

    "If that happens you'd get to a situation like Beirut in the 1980s, when everybody left except a hardened few."

    'If bandits are after cash you are in real trouble'

    Hider said the journalists who were most at risk of kidnapping were those with little experience of the country or those who were on short-term visits.

    "A lot of people come in on short-term visits and pick up drivers and translators not knowing who they are. There have been a few kidnappings that have had the look of inside jobs. So we work with a trusted pool of drivers and translators."

    In spite of the increasingly serious situation in Iraq, Hider said he believed the western press would stay even if journalists were restricted to Baghdad and the Palestine Hotel, which is being used as a base by most foreign journalists in the country.

    "The Palestine Hotel is pretty much unassailable. It's unlikely journalists would be driven out, it's just that then the danger is that you couldn't get the story."

    He said the real threat to journalists came from bands of Iraqi insurgents unconnected with the main resistance group.

    "The level of danger depends on who you get kidnapped by. If it's the hard core resistance, they are fairly disciplined and want journalists to come in and see what the US is doing. If you get taken by some dodgy group that's little more than a group of bandits that have decided to join up with the resistance movement or are after cash, then you are in real trouble."

    Movement of British journalists restricted

    The Daily Telegraph currently has its staff reporter, David Blair, and freelance stringer, Jack Fairweather, on the ground in Baghdad, but Harris said their movements were being hampered by the growing danger from kidnappers and resistance fighters outside the capital.

    "It has greatly limited their ability to travel outside Baghdad.

    "They are being considerably more cautious than they were before this trouble began. But inevitably in order to do the job, they need to talk to people. It's never been the policy of this paper or any other British paper to have reporters go around in forests of guns to guarantee their security," he said.

    "If it becomes too dangerous you end up with journalists locked up in secure zones interviewing each other and relying on the authorities for information," he said.

    Over the past week, as well as Farrell, a French journalist, two Japanese and two Czech journalists have been kidnapped along with a growing number of foreign contract workers.

    Hider said most experienced journalists had been using ordinary Iraqi cars and were accompanied by a trusted driver and translator when venturing around Baghdad or to other towns.

    But even with extra precautions such as tinted windows and disguises, Hider said travelling on the roads to key areas such as Najaf and Kut was now deemed too dangerous by most journalists.

    On his last drive outside of Baghdad - to Najaf - Hider said he and his colleagues had had to run the gauntlet of burning vehicles and shooting on either side of the road.

    "The danger has been being mistaken for a contractor. The number one rule is, don't be driven around in a big white 4x4 like the ones used by contractors, because they are basically bullet magnets.
  5. by   pickledpepperRN
    Well Arlo took drugs yet years later wrote this song:

    All Over The World
    words and music by Arlo Guthrie

    I was watching the news tonight
    And all over the world
    People were singing and carrying signs
    All over the world
    Every body walking hand in hand
    Through cities that I've been
    And though I'm not there tonight
    You know I'll be back again
    I'll be back again, I'll be back again

    I'm on a plane tonight for Germany
    And All over the world
    There are lots of people just like you and me
    All over the world
    Who know the bomb must never fall again
    All over the world
    And we must all learn how to live as friends
    All over the world
    All over the world, all over the world

    We are making the news tonight
    All over the world
    Because we know that what we do is right
    All over the world
    Every body walking hand in hand
    All over the world
    Through the streets of Europe and Japan
    All over the world
    All over the world, all over the world

    by Arloco Music Inc
    All Rights Reserved.

    He is his fathers son.
    Last edit by pickledpepperRN on Apr 16, '04 : Reason: Wrong thread but I have to get ready for work so will just leave it.
  6. by   NurseHardee
    Stop reporting, or we'll even kill our own reporters! NH

    U.S. troops kill two journalists in Iraq
    Updated: 04-19-2004

    BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - U.S. troops shot to death two employees of a U.S.-funded television station Al-Iraqiya on Monday and wounded a third in the central city of Samara, the station said.

    Correspondent Asaad Kadhim and driver Hussein Saleh were killed. Cameraman Bassem Kamel was wounded "after American forces opened fire on them while they were performing their duty," the station announced.

    The station, which is funded by the Pentagon, interrupted its broadcasts to announce the deaths and showed photos of Kadhim. It then began airing only Koranic texts as a symbol of mourning.

    The U.S. military had no immediate comment.

    Thamir Ibrahim, an Al-Iraqiya editor, told The Associated Press he had no details on how the shooting occurred. But "it was on the road leading to the city of Samara. Before they reached it, they were fired upon."

    They were taken to a Samara hospital, he said. "We wanted to go (to them) now, but the road is closed, so we will go tomorrow."

    On March 18, U.S. troops shot dead correspondent Ali al-Khatib and cameraman Ali Abdel-Aziz of the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya news station.

    Al-Khatib and Abdel-Aziz were shot near a U.S. military checkpoint while covering the aftermath of a rocket attack on the Burj al-Hayat hotel in