Reuters Complains of Journalists' Treatment by Military in Iraq

The Reuters Global Managing Editor, David Schlesinger, sent a letter to Republican Senator John Warner, who chairs the Armed Services Committee.Reuters reports on its own actions:

The letter from Reuters Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger called on Warner to raise widespread media concerns about the conduct of U.S. troops with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who is due to testify to the committee on Thursday.

Schlesinger referred to "a long parade of disturbing incidents whereby professional journalists have been killed, wrongfully detained, and/or illegally abused by U.S. forces in Iraq."

He urged Warner to demand that Rumsfeld resolve these issues "in a way that best balances the legitimate security interests of the U.S. forces in Iraq and the equally legitimate rights of journalists in conflict zones under international law"...

"By limiting the ability of the media to fully and independently cover the events in Iraq, the U.S. forces are unduly preventing U.S. citizens from receiving information...and undermining the very freedoms the U.S. says it is seeking to foster every day that it commits U.S. lives and U.S. dollars," the letter said....
Schlesinger said Reuters and other reputable international news organisations were concerned by the "sizeable and rapidly increasing number of journalists detained by U.S. forces."

He said most of these detentions had been prompted by legitimate journalistic activity such as possessing photographs and video of insurgents, which U.S. soldiers assumed showed sympathy with the insurgency.

Schlesinger's letter said: "It appears as though the U.S. forces in Iraq either completely misunderstand the role of professional journalists or do not know how to deal with journalists in a conflict zone, or both."