Reuters' dismay over Dana death report

Dana: shot dead by US soldiers

The chief executive of Reuters has complained to US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld after US soldiers were exonerated for killing journalist Mazen Dana in Baghdad last month.

Tom Glocer is concerned that findings of a Pentagon investigation and its ruling were not passed to the news agency or Dana’s family, but instead disclosed “in a haphazard way” to a couple of Associated Press journalists by a US forces spokesperson.

In a letter to Rumsfeld on Wednesday, Glocer said he was writing to express “deep dismay that neither Reuters nor Dana’s family were properly informed of further developments in this case”.

He said: “Specifically, neither was advised directly of the completion and findings of your investigation, which were instead communicated in a haphazard way by a military spokesman responding to journalists’ questions in Baghdad. I ask you now to ensure that a full copy of the report is made available to Reuters and Dana’s family.”

Glocer called for a full inquiry following Dana’s death. He was shot outside Baghdad prison by soldiers who claimed they thought he was carrying an RPG rocket launcher rather than a camera on his shoulder.

Glocer also reiterated Reuters’ willingness to work with the Pentagon to help establish clear guidelines on how journalists and the military interact.

Journalist bodies were angry in their condemnation of the decision to yet again exonerate soldiers for killing journalists. A Pentagon spokesman was quoted as saying: “Although it was a regrettable incident, the soldiers acted within the rules of engagement.” Reporters Without Borders secretary general Robert Ménard accused the Pentagon of “settling for sham investigations that totally lack transparency and offer no answers”.

The International Federation of Journalists called the ruling “arrogant, secretive and a denial of justice”.

By Wale Azeez

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