TV crews adopt low-profile roles as concern mounts over easy-targets

While British broadcasters had varying responses to the Iraqi authority’s demands that journalists leave Najaf, as it prepared for a military offensive, only the BBC was reporting from the besieged city as we went to press, writes Wale Azeez.

Its correspondent Kylie Morris filed a report from Najaf on 17 August, two days after Iraqi police ordered all journalists out of the Shiite holy city “for their own safety.”

According to a BBC News spokesman, Morris is based in Baghdad and has not too far to travel to Najaf.

Neither ITN nor Sky News has correspondents reporting from Najaf at present. David Mannion, editor-inchief of the ITV News group, said the decision not to report from Najaf was its own decision. It had not bowed to the government order.

Adrian Wells, head of foreign news at Sky News, said his team was not in the city “because television crews are more conspicuous than print journalists and the risk levels can be higher.”

However, CNN’s correspondent Matthew Chance is now embedded with an Iraqi anti-terrorism unit .

Reporters Without Borders has now called on the Iraqi government to drop the ban immediately.

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