UN inquiry called for after 18th journalist killed by US troops

Dominic Ponsford
The United Nations was
today asked to stage an independent inquiry into the killings of media
staff in Iraq by US troops following the death of a Reuters sound
technician on Sunday.
According to the International Federation of
Journalists the death of Waleed Khaledin brings the number of
journalists killed by US troops since the invastion of Iraq to 18.
IFJ general secretary Aidan White said: “The
number of unexplained media killings by US military personnel is
Media organisations and journalists’ families face a wall of silence
and an unfeeling bureaucracy that refuses to give clear and credible
answers to questions.”
In a letter to UN general secretary Kofi Annan,
the IFJ said: “The United Nations has, in theory, a responsibility to
ensure that international law and the rights of victims in this
conflict are properly protected.
“The time has come for the UN itself to step in
and demand that there is justice and respectfor basic humanitarian
rights on the part of democratic countries involved inthis conflict.”
The IFJ has accused the US military of having a “cynical disregard” for the lives of journalists.
Reuters man Khaledin was shot in West Baghdad during an incident when cameraman Haider Kadhem was wounded.
According to the IFJ it brings the total of media staff and journalists killed since the conflict started in March 2003 to 95.
White said: “The toll is appalling, but the fact
that 18 of these deaths are at the hands of US soldiers and that there
ares till questions to be answered more than two years after some of
the incidents is particularly shocking.”
According to Iraqi police, the two Reuters journalists were shot at by US
forces as they drove to investigate an incident in which  two
policemen were killed.
Kadhem, who was wounded in the back, has been detained by the US
military since the shooting.
Reuters global managing editor David Schlesinger
said: “This tragic incident must immediately be investigated thoroughly
and impartially. A brave journalist has lost his life and another has
been wounded and detained when their only actions were as professionals
reporting the facts and images of the war. We are deeply saddened at
this loss.”
Another Reuters’ cameraman, Ali al-Mashhadani,
was arrested by US forces three weeks ago and is being held without
charge in Abu Ghraib prison.
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