IFJ Calls on Obama to End US Silence Over Injustice of Media Killings in Iraq

The

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on United States President

Barack Obama to intervene over the injustice of journalists killed in Iraq at the hands of the US military.

Marking

the sixth anniversary of United States

army attacks on media in Baghdad

on April 8th 2003, in which three journalists died, the IFJ says President

Obama must act to investigate a series of killings in the conflict which remain

unresolved.

In

letter  to the US

President, IFJ President Jim Boumelha,

says the April 8th attack by US forces on Baghdad's

Palestine Hotel, which was filled at the time with media staff, "has come to

symbolise impunity over attacks on journalists and media staff in Iraq and around

the world.

Two

journalists, José Couso of Telecinco in Spain,

and Taras Protsiuk, a Ukrainian cameraman who worked for Reuters died in the

attack and on the same day, US forces attacked the offices of Al-Jazeera in Baghdad, killing reporter

Tareq Ayyoub.

Boumelha

told President Obama that these attacks have not been independently

investigated or properly explained to the satisfaction of the victims'

families, their friends and their colleagues. Reports published by US

authorities, he said, had failed to thoroughly examine the evidence available

and instead merely exonerated US personnel at all levels of command. The Pentagon's

November 2004 report on the attack on the Palestine Hotel was, he said, "flawed

and unconvincing."

The

IFJ has catalogued 16 other cases involving journalists and media staff who

have died since March 2003 at the hands of US soldiers. In all of them the

families and friends of the victims "wait for credible investigations and honest

reports about how and why their loved ones died" said Boumelha.

IFJ

national affiliates have also sent letters to US embassies urging US

authorities to take responsibility for their part in the deaths of journalists

and media staff in Iraq.

This year, Boumelha told Obama, journalists "will be encouraged by your vision

and plans concerning Iraq

which have given hope to millions in this country and across the world."

Boumelha

says there should be a review of all the cases and a convincing process of

investigation that would "honour your commitment to democracy, human rights and

justice. "

 

For

further information contact IFJ on +32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 123 countries worldwide