Sunday, April 13, 2003

CNN hired armed security to accompany reporters in Iraq. A Parisian media 'watchdog' has commented that this goes too far.

"This behavior creates a dangerous precedent that could imperil all other reporters covering this conflict and others in the future,' Robert Menard, RSF secretary general, said in a statement.
Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) made the comments after an incident in the northern Iraqi town of Tikrit in which a security guard hired by CNN fired his machinegun at a checkpoint when the CNN convoy came under gunfire."

So, the reporters come under gunfire but yet RSF asserts that having an armed escort puts them in danger??? Considering they're in a war zone & have come under fire I'd say they already were in danger. Add to that the treatment of the press in Iraq disclosed by CNN last week & I'd say not having arms would imperil the reporters.
If I was a reporter I'd damn sure be armed. If I was in charge of a group of reporters I'd make sure they were armed & had some rudimentary marksmanship training. In a country where reporters have been tortured & killed I'd think they would have learned that being unarmed means being defenseless.
Add to that the recent admission by CNN about torture & murder of reporters & contacts in Iraq & I'd say the case for being armed is difficult to argue against.

Not that RSF won't try:

"There is a real risk that belligerents will believe all press vehicles are armed,' he said, adding that the use of armed private security guards only increased the confusion between reporters and combatants in the conflict."

That would be a bad thing? If a person believes that the reporters are armed, then chances are he's gonna think twice about strolling up & kidnapping, shooting or otherwise attempting to harm them. & in the instances where merely possessing arms is not a deterant then at least the reporters would have the chance to fight back, possibly saving their lives. True, they might get killed in a gunfight, but I don't see how that would be worse than being unarmed & getting killed. In fact considering the reports of journalists being tortured I'd say death in a gunfight would be preferable.
But the RFS is content to hide behind erroneous ideaology. It's sad when CNN has a good idea & they catch grief for it. Lord knows they need all the encouragement they can get when they get something right.

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