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UNI supports CWA campaign on safety for media workers in war zones

UNI, 5 April 2004

UNI calls on affiliates to support the CWA campaign on safety for media workers in war zones. One year after journalists and media workers at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad came under fire from U.S. forces on April 8, 2003. CWA launches a petition campaign to the US government among media unions in the US and worldwide to secure that the U.S. military is doing everything possible to ensure the safety of media workers in war zones. Independent and accurate news coverage of military conflicts depends on the ability of journalists and media workers, no matter what news agency they work for, to stay out of harm's way and be free from fear that they are being targeted.

During the hotel Palestine attack two journalists were killed and three others wounded. In all, seven media workers have perished in four separate incidents of so-called friendly fire by U.S. troops in Iraq since hostilities began in March 2003. To date, the Pentagon's internal investigation of the Palestine Hotel tragedy, as well as other catastrophes involving media workers in Iraq, has remained classified. No details of these incidents have been released to their families, news organizations, or the American public. The Pentagon, meanwhile, has ignored repeated calls by journalists and other organizations in the U.S. and around the world for a detailed, independent inquiry into these tragic events as well as the development of protocols to assure the safety of war correspondents.

The CWA call on the Pentagon to make public the results of its own investigations, undertake an independent investigation of so-called friendly fire incidents involving journalists and U.S. troops and demands to know what steps, if any, have been taken by the U.S. government to reduce the likelihood that tragedies such as the Palestine Hotel will not occur in other conflicts.

UNI calls on affiliates to join the CWA campaign and to send a petition to the US government. The petition web site can be accessesd under http://cwa-union.org/journopetition/