Reuters supports RWB report into journalist deaths

Reuters has backed the findings from an investigation by Reporters Without Borders into the US military attack on Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel which killed and injured journalists.

The investigation report demanded that the Pentagon reopen its inquiry into the deaths of Reuters journalist Taras Protsyuk and Telecinco’s Jose Couso, killed when a US Army tank shelled the hotel on 8 April last year.

“The [US Army] report provides only some of the truth about the incident, which needs to be further investigated to establish exactly who was responsible,” it said.

“At the top level, the US government must bear some of the responsibility. Not just because it is the government and has supreme authority over its army in the field, but also and especially because its top leaders have regularly made statements about the status of war reporters in Iraq that have undermined all media security considerations and set the scene for the tragedy that occurred,”  the report concluded.

Reuters said the main conclusions of RWB’s report were consistent with its own investigation into the incident “which identified a breakdown in communications between military commanders and troops on the ground.

The news agency also voiced concern that “since this attack, the safety of journalists in Iraq has not improved.

“In fact, the military issued a statement to the press on Friday January 2, claiming that “militants posing as journalists attacked troops” before they had conducted an adequate investigation.

This statement has never been retracted or amended, even though the military later stated that no credible evidence exists, which greatly endangers all journalists operating in Baghdad,” the spokeswoman added.

By Wale Azeez

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