Pune Journalists in India Remember Iraq Martyrs

Several journalists from newspapers and television centers on April 8 remembered and paid homage to their colleagues from the world over who were killed while covering the war in Iraq last year. The condolence meeting was held at Shramshakti Bhavan in Pune in Maharashtra state on the call of the International Federation of Journalists.

In the war, perpetrated by the US against Iraq, 36 journalists from different countries were killed, most of them on this day alone when the hotel where they were staying was bombarded indiscriminately.

The event got extensive coverage in the Maharashtra press and journalists joined in large numbers to express their feelings and concern for those who lost their life in their attempt to bring truth to the public.

The Pune meeting proved once again that if their organizations kept a constant touch with them, the Indian journalists were always willing to stand by their colleagues all over the world and showed much interest in the issues and condition of journalists anywhere in the world. It was an occasion for the journalists not to merely shed tears for their dead colleagues but to stand up and fight for social justice and human rights. And the Iraq war has raised questions beyond just the violation of human rights. It has put a question mark on the very survival of democracies the world over against the cruel offensive of the imperialist and fascist forces that the rulers in America today represent.

It was said at the meeting that the protection and safety of the journalists covering such international conflicts was not just the responsibility of the employers or the government of that particular country alone. The issue had to be tackled at the international level involving UNO. The International Federation of Journalists should see to it that this question is taken up at its forthcoming Congress at Athens. The All India Newspaper Employees Federation will send a resolution to this effect for its adoption at the Congress.

Excerpts from the Press:

KESARI: In memory of the killings, International Federation of Journalists and its affiliate, the All India Newspaper Employees Federation, will observe this day as Martyrs Day. It was in April last year that American Army bombed Hotel Palestine from where many journalists were working. 36 journalists have so far been killed in Iraq war. Journalists are more and more becoming targets so that people do not get correct news. Newspaper employees and employers should raise their voice for international steps for the protection and safety of journalists covering wars.

PRABHAT: Shri Madan Phadnis, President of the All India Newspaper Employees Federation told the press conference the UNO should take responsibility for the protection and safety of the journalists. Killing of journalists by attacking the hotel from where they were working on April 8 was a calculated move of the American Army. The day should be observed as Martyrs Day.

SAMNA: In order to ensure that the world did not know the naked truth about the cruelties of the American Army in Iraq, journalists were killed deliberately, Mr. Madan Phadnis told the press conference. He said the Human Rights Commission should hold an inquiry and bring the real face of the United States of America before the people.

AAJ KA ANAND: The people of the world have a right to know the real stories of the war and crude conduct of the American Army. Buses carrying journalists were stopped and journalists killed point blank. April 8th should be observed as the Martyrs Day as called upon by the International Federation of Journalists and the All India Newspaper Employees Federation.

LOKSATTA: April 8 is going to be observed as the Martyrs Day in memory of the journalists killed during the Iraq War. Shri Madan Phadnis said it was on this day that attacks were made on them killing several of them so that the truth could be concealed. He said the attacks were not accidental but deliberate. Several journalists are killed in the world every year while discharging their professional duties. There should be protection for them. Phadnis was speaking at a press conference on the observance of the Day on the call given by the IFJ and the AINEF.