Victims of the war
Since fighting began, 16 media assistants and 39 journalists have been killed, at least 10 wounded, 4 are still missing and 12 are kidnapped

Press Releases - Reports

19.09 - Iraq
Progress in hunt for missing media workers
Progress is being made in the enquiry into what happened to French cameraman Frédéric Nérac and Lebanese interpreter Hussein Osman, both of the British TV network ITN, who disappeared in southern Iraq two days after the start of the US-British invasion six months ago. No solid clues have been found by British military investigators but searches are under way and US forces are now cooperating.

30.05 - Iraq
Britain and France urged to investigate disappearance of ITN cameraman Fred Nérac and Lebanese colleague
19.05 - Iraq
Journalists down tools at start of EU ministers meeting in protest over Fred Nérac
13.05 - Iraq
Incredulity at British refusal to help investigate disappearance of two ITN crew members
7.05 - Iraq
UK defence minister urged to pledge more help in search for two ITN journalists missing in Iraq
2.05 - Iraq
In welcome but belated move, US army orders enquiry into shooting on ITN crew
23.04 - Iraq
Reporters without Borders not satisfied with replies from the Pentagon and the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission
13.04 - Iraq
CNN crew’s bodyguard fires back with automatic weapon when crew comes under fire
News organisation’s use of firearm sets dangerous precedent
8.04 - Iraq
Reporters Without Borders outraged at bombing of Al-Jazeera office in Baghdad
8.04 - United Kingdom
Media attacked by ministers and MPs for Iraq war coverage
3.04 - Iraq
Iraqi authorities accused of contempt for foreign journalists
31.03 - Iraq
Coalition accused of showing "contempt" for journalists covering war in Iraq
31.03 - Iraq
Reporters Without Borders calls on Iraqi authorities to explain disappearance of four journalists
28.03 - Iraq
Reporters Without Borders makes urgent appeal to all sides in the war to help find nine missing journalists
26.03 - United-States
Al-Jazeera TV station singled out in ban by New York Stock Exchange
26.03 - Iraq
Gen. Tommy Franks asked to order enquiry into death of British TV reporter and disappearance of two colleagues
22.03 - Iraq
Two journalists killed, two missing and two wounded
19.03 - War in Iraq
Reporters Without Borders calls on the US to guarantee that the media can work freely and in safety
11.03 - Kuwait
Ban on foreign journalists passing reports to Israeli news media
25.02 - Iraq
The Iraqi media : 25 years of relentless repression

breaking news
19.06 - Satisfied Pentagon plans to repeat "embedding"

The US defence department’s chief spokesperson, Victoria Clarke, has said the Pentagon was very happy with the outcome of the "embedding" of some 700 journalists with US military units during the war in Iraq. During a conference on 17 June on news coverage during the war, she said people appreciated the embedding and would like to do it again. She added that more journalists should be brought into this process next time, especially foreign journalists.

Journalists participating in the conference said they also liked embedding because it gave them direct access to the front lines and a broader perspective. Many TV journalists said being embedded with marines allowed them both to increase the depth of battlefield coverage and avoid censorship to a much greater degree.

But CNN journalist Bob Franken said he and some of his colleagues had to nuance their reporting out of loyalty to the US military.

Marvin Kalb, a Harvard university professor and former TV journalist, said everyone was very lucky the embedding formula worked out and this was because the war was short. If the war had been longer, there would have been more American casualties and the existing level of enthusiasm in the Pentagon for embedding might have fallen, he said.


Read all the news

Between the lines
Egyptian media caught in the middle
15.04 - By Kamel Labidi, a Tunisian journalist based in Cairo
Egypt’s powerful state media structure was told by the government at the start of the war to avoid any coverage that might aggravate the feelings (...)


Related documents
RSF 1992 Iraq Annual Report
Journalists killed since 1992
CFLCC Ground Rules Agreement
Extract of the Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions on the protection of journalists
Extract of the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war

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JM Charon column

Jean-Marie Charon is a sociologist specialising in the media who works at the France’s National Scientific Research Centre. He has written books and articles about journalism. He writes a daily comment on the Reporters Without Borders website about the media’s coverage of the war in Iraq.

Journalist !

(18.04.2003) US troops were preparing to attack the regime’s last stronghold, Tikrit, just a few days ago. But the first shots fired involved Iraqi positions and... a TV crew. It might’ve passed for just another unfortunate incident if it hadn’t been for the fact the journalists had armed guards with them.

Encouraged by the US military, "embedded" journalists have been wearing army clothing and travelling in jeeps almost identical to those of the troops. Now they’re virtually carrying weapons, which risks making them indistinguishable from soldiers. The Tikrit incident recalls the picture of a journalist from another network, announcing his departure for Afghanistan by brandishing an firearm.

Some will say carrying a gun and the idea of self-defence are not seen the same way on both sides of the Atlantic. You could also cite the well-known precedent of World War II correspondents travelling with US forces and wearing regimental uniforms and having the rank of officers.

Except that 60 years on, after many more wars and a changed approach to news in crisis situations, you might assume journalists were leaning more towards being, well, journalists, witnesses, observers, analysts and commentators.

Must we - by claiming news in wartime is never impartial - accept journalists being reduced to mere assistants in military action conducted by governments ? It isn’t the most promising road for democracies to take.

This war, where international rules and conventions have often been trampled on, definitely calls for new efforts to strengthen legal norms applying to civilian populations, prisoners of war, aid services and also journalists.

There’s plenty of disagreement about this in the media. Perhaps it’s too early. But a review is urgently needed of the conditions journalists worked in during this war. Maybe then a clearer picture will emerge of what the international status of a journalist might be in wartime, a status that would protect them.

Something to look forward to by the citizens of democracies who aspire to something more than the crude old forms of propaganda and disinformation.


others columns
New teams take over
New teams take over
Inconsistencies
Intolerable
Different images
The false pause : using the media
Casualties
Journalists, not combatants
Dust to dust ...
A glaring imbalance
High-risk pause
Blind spots
Civilians beware !
The trap of being so close up
The language of the war
Respect