Iraq claims lives of more journalists

The International Federation of Journalists has called for safety training and improvements in working conditions after nine journalists in Iraqi Kurdistan were among the victims of the terrorist bombings in Irbil.

IFJ general secretary Aidan White said: “This unspeakable violence claims many innocent lives and, inevitably, journalists and media workers are those in the front line.”

The bombers struck at the offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan as the Kurdish community was celebrating Eid al-adha, the most important feast of the Muslim calendar, an event that receives extensive coverage by the local media.

The bombing killed 109 people. In addition four journalists were badly injured. The bombings were claimed by a terrorist group called Jaish Ansar al-Sunna, which said it had targeted the Kurdish parties because they were allies of the US.

The deaths in Irbil bring the number of journalists and media staff killed in Iraq to 33 since the conflict began in March.

US TROOP ACCESS

The Pentagon has no constitutional obligation to give the media access to US troops during combat, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The ruling, by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, against Larry Flynt, the publisher of Hustler, is believed to be a first by a federal appeals court on whether journalists have a First Amendment right to be given access to news rather than a right to publish information already gathered.

Flynt sued the Defense Department after it rejected requests to send reporters with the first wave of US troops into Afghanistan soon after the 9/11 attacks. He claimed a 1980 Supreme Court decision providing a right of access to criminal trials extended to government operations in general.

But the appeals court said there was nothing “in the constitution, US history or case law” to back the claim.

By Jon Slattery

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