IFJ wants new tribunal to probe media deaths

US are holding back information, says IFJ

Nerac, left, and Lloyd: UK and

The International Federation of Journalists wants an independent tribunal established to investigate the killing of journalists worldwide.

The call comes as the IFJ accused Britain and the US of displaying a “callous disregard for justice” over the death of ITN reporter Terry Lloyd and the disappearance of cameraman Fred Nerac and interpreter Hussein Osman when they were fired upon by coalition forces in Iraq.

IFJ general secretary Aidan White said: “Almost eight weeks after Terry Lloyd was killed, and with still no trace of his cameraman Fred Nerac and translator Hussein Osman, there are still no answers to the fundamental questions – who was responsible for this attack and where are our missing colleagues?” The IFJ claims the protests of Nerac’s wife Fabienne, who has complained about being faced with a “wall of silence” by the Ministry of Defence, the frustration of the teams’ employer, ITN, and the belief that the US/UK coalition is holding back information, is reinforcing resentment over the way attacks on journalists during the war have been treated by the authorities.

“It is impossible not to conclude that, after almost two months, information is being held back,” said White. “At the very least the lack of co-operation being shown by British officials reflects a callous disregard for justice. We support strongly the demands of the family and colleagues of the victims that these cases must be vigorously and urgently investigated.”

The IFJ says that the killings of journalists in Iraq and in Palestine, including the shooting by Israeli soldiers of documentary film-maker James Miller in the Gaza Strip on 2 May, and the killing of Nazih Darwazeh on 19 April in Nablus, make a “compelling case” for the establishment of an international tribunal to carry out independent investigations whenever a journalist or media person is killed.

“Leaving these matters in the hands of the military and politicians – who themselves need to be called to account – undermines the credibility of the existing process,” said White.

“We need an independent process that can call for evidence, that is open to public scrutiny and that will command the confidence of everyone involved.”

By Jon Slattery

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