Reporters' deaths in Iraq must not go unexplained

Twelve months after the death of ITN’s Terry Lloyd and the disappearance of his colleagues Fred Nerac and Hussein Osman, the story is depressingly familiar.

Last week two journalists were shot dead by US troops in a “friendly fire” incident outside Baghdad.

The journalists, from satellite news channel Al-Arabiya, were on their way to investigate reports of an attack on an hotel, travelling in a vehicle clearly marked with the letters “TV”.

Anybody who saw Michael Nicholson’s report for Tonight with Trevor McDonald on Monday on what happened to Lloyd, Nerac and Hussein will feel the resonance of that. The fate of the latter two remains unclear, but as the Tonight footage showed, the TV markings on their car were clear. And US journalists who arrived at the scene shortly afterwards were not allowed to examine the car, despite being only a matter of yards away from it.

Once again the question arises of how seriously coalition troops take the safety of journalists during war and its aftermath.

On the same day last week, another television reporter and two of his support crew died after an armed attack on the minibus in which they were travelling.

These latest killings bring the death toll among journalists since the start of the war in Iraq to 35.

A day of mourning has been set for 8 April.

The questions about how so many of them died must not stop.

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