The International Federation of Journalists today called for the military leading the invasion of Iraq to conduct "a full and searching inquiry" into the circumstances that led to the killing of Terry Lloyd the veteran ITN reporter. Lloyd's death was confirmed by his employers today, but there is still no confirmation of the fate of his two colleagues, cameraman Fred Nerac and translator Hussein Osman who were also part of the team that came under fire near Basra.
"This is a tragic and sad loss," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "We send our most heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and colleagues."
The IFJ is supporting calls from its member organisation in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the National Union of Journalists, for a full investigation. The death, apparently at the hands of coalition forces, comes just a day after Australian cameraman, Paul Moran, was killed in a suicide bombing in Northern Iraq.
"Talk of so-called 'friendly fire' and 'precision bombing' is put into a terrible perspective when we learn of the appalling circumstances of this incident," said White. "There must be a full and searching inquiry into how a press vehicle, clearly marked, can be subject to such an attack. It must never happen again."
Iraqi ambulances took a number of dead and injured from the incident into Basra and it is believed that Terry Lloyd's body was among the dead. A fourth member of the team, cameraman Daniel Demoustier, was injured in the incident but was able to get back to US and British lines.
Terry Lloyd was 50, and married with two children. He had just celebrated his 20th anniversary with ITN, making him ITV News' longest serving reporter. He was also the first correspondent killed on assignment in ITN's 48-year history.
According to United States army sources there have been at least four incidents involving members of the news media who came under Iraqi fire after crossing the border from Kuwait to Iraq. The army also received reports of journalists detained by Iraqis and possibly being wounded by Iraqis.
There are 2,074 registered members of the news media in Kuwait, 529 of whom are embedded with coalition forces. "In fact, we believe there are many more news staff in the field," said White, "The reality is that all of them are in real danger as the war develops. News media must use restraint in how they use their people and the military must give priority to protecting all journalists, not just the privileged minority who are "embedded" and travelling with the, forces," says the IFJ.