Guilds call for query into wartime fatalities

Groups cite 'questionable' situations for journos

Leaders of six unions repping journalists, including AFTRA and the WGA East, have called on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to investigate the recent deaths of journalists covering the war in Iraq.

“As leaders of unions representing thousands of U.S. journalists, including several hundred now situated in and around Iraq, we are gravely concerned about recent incidents that have resulted in the injury or death of media staff covering the war,” the letter said. “Therefore, we respectfully request that you immediately convene an independent investigation into these incidents to determine what went wrong and the extent to which they may have been avoidable events.”

The unions, which released the letter Friday, also called for a meeting with Pentagon reps to identify specific measures that could be taken to prevent further incidents.

The missive was signed by Linda Foley, president of The Newspaper Guild-CWA; AFTRA president John Connolly; John C. Clark, president of the Natl. Assn. of Broadcast Engineers and Technicians; Jonathan Tasini, president of the National Writers Union; WGA East prexy Herb Sargent; and Paul Almeida, president of the AFL-CIO Dept. for Professional Employees.

The missive cited “questionable” situations such as the attack that killed two journalists at the Palestine Hotel; the attack on Al Jazeera Television and Abu Dhabi Television, resulting in the death of another journalist; the death of ITN reporter Terry Lloyd; and several other incidents.

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