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One Journalist Killed, Two Wounded In Iraq

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Note: RSF is adapting its website to cover hour-by-hour news of press freedom violations by all sides in the invasion of Iraq.

PARIS (RSF/Pacific Media Watch): Three journalists were reported missing and one wounded today, Saturday, 22 March 2003, in the south of Iraq. These four journalists working for British Independent Television News (ITN) came under fire at Iman Anas as they drove towards Basra in unmarked vehicles and away from any military convoy. Terry Lloyd, 51, a British national, cameraman Fred Nerac and local fixer Hussein Othman were all reported missing. Belgian journalist Daniel Demoustier, a freelance was wounded and reportedly taken to hospital.

In another incident an Australian journalist working for American ABC television was killed on Saturday, 22 March 2003, in a booby-trapped car explosion in Iraqi Kurdistan. The blast happened at the checkpoint outside the village of Khormal, near the Iranian border. This border zone which is the base for an Islamist Kurdish group, Ansar Al-Islam, had been bombarded overnight 21-22 March by US missiles. A photographer who was an eye-witness at the scene said that the attack appeared to be aimed at the many journalists who were there. Another journalist was wounded in the explosion.

Reporters Without Borders is shocked to learn of the death of a journalist and that three others are missing: These men have paid a high price for their willingness to report freely and fully on military operations in Iraq. In a conflict characterised by a highly charged media battle, the search for independent news is all the more essential to ensure that international reporting can be free of distortion and propaganda. "The protagonists in this conflict should be warned not to use these tragedies to justify limiting still further the freedom of movement of journalists working in the field," said general secretary Robert Ménard .

Reporters Without Borders urgently appeals to all sides not to take any action that would knowingly endanger life or safety of journalists. The organisation recalls that during the 1991 Gulf War four journalists were killed. German photographer Gad Gross was shot by the Iraqi army in Iraqi Kurdistan. Three British freelance journalists covering the war for the BBC were killed, most likely by their Turkish guide.

These latest casualties add to a long list of journalists killed while doing their job. From 1992 to 2002, more than 500 journalists were killed, almost half of them in war zones.



PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media based in Sydney, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG), the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and Community Communications Online (c2o).

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