Media Unions Again Raise the Call for Independent
Investigation into New Media Staff Deaths in Iraq
Washington, D.C., July 11, 2005 --In a letter sent today to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, The Newspaper Guild-CWA and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists called on the Pentagon to "authorize the conduct of an independent investigation into another three cases of journalists who were killed by U.S. forces" in June.
President Linda Foley of TNG-CWA and Thomas R Carpenter, AFTRA National Director of News and Broadcast, sent the letters as part of the call by the International Federation of Journalists to learn the "full, proper and transparent details about the facts surrounding these latest deaths."
Earlier this year, the IFJ, and many other organizations, including TNG-CWA and AFTRA, wrote to President Bush asking for an independent investigation into the deaths of then 14 journalists killed in incidents involving U.S.forces. The June deaths of Yasser Salihee, a correspondent for Knight-Ridder, and television journalists Maha Ibrahim and Ahmed Wael Bakri, raises that number to 17.
Foley and Carpenter note that many more journalists have been killed by insurgents and others in Iraq, however, the Pentagon’s support for independent inquiries into these incidents – and its response to concerns raised around the world – is critical.
A similar request was made of Rumsfeld in April 2003, just after the shelling of the Palestine Hotel in Bagdad which killed a Spanish reporter for Telecinco and a Ukrainian cameraman working for Reuters.
TNG-CWA represents 35,000 journalists and media workers in the United States and Canada. AFTRA represents nearly 80,000 members working in the news, information and entertainment industries. Both are affiliates of the International Federation of Journalists which represents more than half a million journalists in some 110 countries.