Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Times Square Honors 67 Journalists Slain: 3 years in Iraq

Remember, PUNK IS POLITICAL. If you're not outraged, you are not paying attention.

67, that's SIXTY-SEVEN, Journalists have been slain in ONLY 3 years during the Iraq war. 67 brave men and women. Ohmygawd. If that doesn't cause one to take pause, then nothing will. NO matter what your day was like, we should pause and remember these brave souls.

And may God have mercy on our souls for what we are doing in Iraq (and Afghanistan, let's not forget how sports hero Pat Tillman was SHOT BY OUR OWN SIDE, up close and personal), the environment, and now the Govt can poke into online search records, re: Google's setback to take on the Admin's "fishing expedition" to find out what you and I are investigating while on the net. Big Brother is watching.


Reuters' Baghdad Chief Cites Growing Dangers In Iraq--As Giant Times Square Screen Honors 67 Slain Journalists

By Dave Astor, New York


As Iraq bureau chief for Reuters, Alastair Macdonald is a long way from New York City. But he appreciates that Reuters today began using its huge sign in Manhattan's Times Square to draw attention to the many journalists who have died in Iraq since the U.S. invasion nearly three years ago.

"It's worthwhile for us to remind people about the price of the news they're getting from Iraq," MacDonald told E&P, when reached by phone this morning in Reuters' Baghdad bureau. "And the sign is timely, because the dangers are becoming greater. Three Iraqi journalists were shot dead, assassination-style, during the past seven days."

Reuters' Times Square sign will continously run the names of 67 journalists -- as well as a montage of some of the war's most iconic and harrowing photos -- through the end of this month. Four of the 67 who were killed covering the war worked for Reuters, noted Macdonald, and a fifth Reuters person died in a car accident in Iraq.

Other journalists, such as Jill Carroll of the Christian Science Monitor, have been kidnapped (she is still being held).

Macdonald, 43, knew three of the Reuters people who died. "It's very hard for us to lose friends this way," he said, adding that all three were killed by U.S. soldiers.

The bureau chief said he also hopes the Times Square sign will make people think about the journalists who continue to report from Iraq under very dangerous conditions.

Reuters people in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq include more than 50 full-time journalists, nearly 20 part-time journalists, and several dozen support staffers. This 100-plus crew -- which includes print reporters, photographers, and TV people -- is a mix of Iraqis and people from other countries.

Macdonald noted that as things became more dangerous in Iraq, news organizations started relying more on Iraqi journalists to cover certain stories. But Iraqi journalists -- such as the three killed recently -- are starting to be targeted more. Foreign correspondents have been targets since the March 2003 U.S. invasion, said Macdonald.

"Unlike in previous wars, you can't drive around with a big 'PRESS' sign on your vehicle and expect to be safe," said Macdonald. "That will get you blown up. You have to travel incognito." Or travel less than before.

Macdonald -- who was in and out of Iraq starting in 2003 before becoming bureau chief last June -- recalled that journalists had at least somewhat more mobility in the war's earlier days. "In 2003 and 2004, we would routinely move around Baghdad fairly comfortably," he recalled. "You could walk the streets and drive the roads to a point." That, said Macdonald, is no longer the case.

Despite the dangerous conditions, journalists can still do good reporting from Iraq. "It's possible," said Macdonald, "but it does come at a cost."


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