CBS freelance cameraman shot and wounded by US soldiers

U.S. soldiers wound CBS cameraman

Apr 7 - US troops shot and wounded an Iraqi freelance cameraman who works for CBS News, saying they mistook his video camera for a weapon. Soldiers reportedly shot the cameraman, whose name was not published by Reuters at the request of CBS, while he was covering a firefight in Mosul.

According to a statement released by the military, US troops had been involved in a shootout with at least one suspected insurgent who was "waving an AK-47 and inciting a crowd of civilians." During the incident, soldiers fired at "an individual that appeared to have a weapon who was standing near the insurgent." The military says the incident is under investigation.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an international media watchdog, US troops killed "at least nine journalists and two media support staff" in Iraq between March 2003 and February 2005. American soldiers have also been accused of torturing and sexually abusing three Iraqis who worked for Reuters. Last month, the Army announced it had cleared the accused soldiers of any wrongdoing in that case without interviewing the three Iraqi survivors.
--Chris Shumway

© 2005 The NewStandard.

Online sources used in this news brief:

Reuters: "Cameraman for CBS wounded by US troops in Iraq"
Committee to Protect Journalists: "CNN's Jordan is gone, but questions remain"

CBS freelance cameraman shot and wounded by US soldiers

Reporters Without Borders today called for a thorough and transparent investigation into an incident yesterday near the northern city of Mosul in which US soldiers shot and wounded a freelance cameraman working for the US television network CBS News.

"Once again the US forces have targeted a journalist just doing his job," the press freedom organization said. Reporters Without Borders pointed out that this was not the first time that US soldiers shot a cameraman after mistaking his camera for a gun. Mazen Dana, a Palestinian working for the British news agency Reuters, was killed in a similar fashion on 17 August 2003 in Baghdad. The US army claimed that the US soldiers involved had acted according to the rules of engagement.

"We again call on this same army to be more vigilant and discerning in order to avoid these unacceptable blunders," the organization added.

The cameraman was injured in the hip in the course of an exchange of shots between Iraqi insurgents and members of the 1st brigade of the US 25th infantry division. In a statement issued by the Pentagon, the US army said soldiers fired at a rebel who was "waving an AK-47 (assault rifle) and inciting a crowd of civilians."

During the incident, "an individual that appeared to have a weapon who was standing near the insurgent was shot and injured. This individual turned out to be a reporter who was pointing a video camera. Regretfully, the reporter was injured during the complex and volatile situation," the statement said, adding that the incident was being investigated.

The journalist, who CBS News said should not be named for his own protection, was taken to a US military hospital for treatment. The US army described his injuries as minor.

At least 52 journalists and media assistants have been killed in Iraq since the start of the war in March 2003, Reporters Without Borders said.

Three journalists were killed by the US army in a single day, on 8 April 2003. Al-Jazeera cameraman Tarek Ayoub, 35, was killed during a US air raid when a missile hit Al-Jazeera's bureau. Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk, 35, a Ukrainian normally based in Warsaw, was killed when the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad came under fire. Spanish cameraman José Couso, 27, who worked for the Spanish TV station Telecinco, was wounded in the same shooting and died on the operating table. The places targeted were all known to be used by journalists but the US army investigation brazenly cleared all those involved.

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Reporters Without Borders defends imprisoned journalists and press freedom throughout the world, as well as the right to inform the public and to be informed, in accordance with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Reporters Without Borders has nine national sections (in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom), representatives in Abidjan, Bangkok, Istanbul, Montreal, Moscow, New York, Tokyo and Washington and more than a hundred correspondents worldwide.

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