Credits: All from AP - from left: Martin Mejia (Lima 2000), David de la Paz (Mexico City 1999), Jose Luis Magana (Mexico City 1998), Nasser Nasser (Ramallah 2002), Srdjan Ilic (Kosovo 1998) & Nasser Nasser (Ramallah 2000).
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May 7, 2010

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Journalist Safety
UN Resolution 1738

Journalist Safety
CoE Resolution 1535

Killing The Messenger
- INSI Global Inquiry - Report and Recommendations

Live News Africa
- A Survival Guide for Journalists

AIB Directory

Translations of key INSI information are available below in PDF format.
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link to Arabic translation in PDF
link to Kurdish translation in PDF
link to Bengali translation in PDF
link to Azeri PDF
link to Word document in French
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link to PDF in Russian
link to PDF in Georgian
link to PDF in Tagalog
link to PDF in Bahasa Indonesia

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Iraqi government press restrictions have nothing to do with safety
18 May 2007

Brussels, 18 May - The International News Safety Institute on Friday dismissed the Iraqi government's restrictions on news coverage of bombings as irrelevant to the safety of journalists.

According to a report on state-run Al-Iraqiyah television, an Interior Ministry spokesman said the ministry had decided to prevent news teams from approaching the scenes of incidents out of concern for their safety.

The independent newspaper Al-Mashriq quoted the spokesman, Maj. Gen Abd al-Karim Khalaf, as saying there were four reasons for the new curbs: to prevent any tampering with evidence at the site, to protect media people from the possibility of a second blast, to preserve the victims' human dignity by not showing them on TV and to avoid giving terrorists information about the results of their attacks.

News organisations and other Iraq war specialists contacted by INSI dismissed the stated justification. One senior television correspondent said the reasons given were "spurious throughout".

The following points were made:

  • Cameramen are too busy filming bomb sites to have any time or interest in "tampering with evidence"
  • While there is a significant danger of secondary explosions at bomb sites, camera crews now have become quite experienced in assessing the risk and deciding when it is safe to go in and film
  • The bombers do not need TV to give them information about their attacks - they know very well what they have achieved

    One expert said: "It's true first responders are occasionally the target of follow-on attacks, and journalists are among the first responders. But on the basis of that argument, there should no emergency response of any kind -- silly -- halting attacks on first responders.

    "What's been unspoken by Iraqi officials is the suspicion of anyone with a camera at an attack site. Since insurgents and terrorists routinely videotape their attacks, a cameraman seen at attack site soon after the attack runs the risk of being fired upon and/or detained as a suspected bad guy. Ultimately, however, in my view, this is much more of a press freedom matter than a safety issue."

    Another commented: "If the government were really that concerned about the safety of journalists, it would provide better protection for the papers, magazines and TV stations that have been repeatedly targeted for attack by gunmen. The main cause of death for journalists in Baghdad has been targeted assassination, not secondary explosions at bombing sites."

    INSI has recorded the deaths of 201 journalists and other news professionals since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The great majority of the victims have been Iraqis, murdered because of their work, and no one has been brought to justice.

    "Whatever the reason for this latest restriction of news coverage in Iraq, it is clear it has nothing to do with the safety of journalists," said INSI Director Rodney Pinder. "The Iraqi government has a duty to protect and defend journalists, who form the cornerstone of any democracy, and this action does not address that issue in a serious way."

    Any questions on this news release should be addressed to Rodney Pinder, email or mobile +44 7734 709267