US Army go-ahead for inquiry into Lloyd's death

Lloyd: shot near Basra in March

The US military has disclosed plans for an inquiry into the death of ITV News journalist Terry Lloyd, who was killed in Iraq when American soldiers opened fire on his vehicle.

An ITN spokeswoman said it had been informed of the US military’s intentions and that an investigation was “under way”.

The news comes weeks after the broadcaster launched its own investigation into the shooting near Basra, which, in addition to Lloyd’s death, led to cameraman Daniel Demoustier being wounded and cameraman Fred Nerac and translator Hussein Othman being officially listed missing.

Nerac’s wife Fabienne has made two personal appeals to US Secretary of State Colin Powell. On 3 April, she confronted him in Brussels and asked for a response to an earlier written request for information about her husband’s fate. Powell gave her a “personal promise” that US authorities would investigate his disappearance.

Reporters Without Borders has welcomed the US’s “belated decision” to investigate but “deplores the fact that an inquiry was not ordered sooner”. RWB secretary general Robert Ménard said: “It was high time the US army decided to investigate this tragic incident. It’s a safe bet it was ITN’s independent inquiry in the field, rather than Colin Powell’s promises, that forced the military to end their silence and offer an explanation.”

The International News Safety Institute was launched on Friday to coincide with World Press Freedom Day. The Brussels-based institute was created to highlight the dangers faced by journalists, help fund safety training and to play a key role in seeking justice for media workers who are harassed or attacked. It is backed by 80 media organisations including the BBC, Reuters and the Rory Peck Trust.

“No story is worth a life,” said Chris Cramer, honorary president of INSI and president of CNN International Networks. “It doesn’t mean that the job we do is not precious. It means we value life over death.”

By Wale Azeez

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