Frontline World

Iraq - Reporting the War, January 2005

Related Features THE STORY
Synopsis of "Reporting the War"

Charting Worldwide Risks

A Reporter's Daily Life

Battlefields and Bylines, Perspectives of Reporters, Remembering Slain Journalists




Links and Resources

• Dispatches from Baghdad
• Journalists in the News
• Press Freedom Organizations
• Remembering Slain Journalists
• Keeping Journalists Safe
• Film: Journalists in Danger

Dispatches from Baghdad

The FRONTLINE/World "Reporting the War" television story featured several journalists who report from Iraq. Catch up with their recent work in American and British newspapers.

The work of John Burns and Dexter Filkins is available by searching The New York Times. (Registration required.)

Reporting by Jackie Spinner is available by searching The Washington Post. (Registration required.)

Articles by Rory McCarthy are available by searching the UK Guardian.

Scott Peterson's articles are available by searching The Christian Science Monitor for "Scott Peterson" and "Iraq." His photographs are available at Getty Images by searching for "Scott Peterson" and "Iraq."

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Journalists in the News

"French Journalists Freed in Iraq"
In August 2004, a radical Islamic group kidnapped two French journalists in Iraq while they were on their way to report a story in the holy city of Najaf. The journalists were released by their captors in December 2004.

"Reporting and Surviving Iraq's Dangers"
This commentary by Ian Fisher, first published by The New York Times in July 2004, responds to the suggestion by the U.S. deputy secretary of defense, Paul Wolfowitz, that reporters were too frightened to properly cover the war in Iraq. Fisher refers to reporting from Iraq as an "experiment in war journalism."

Inside Baghdad, April 17, 2003
Just before the fall of Baghdad, John Burns was threatened by top officials in Saddam Hussein's regime, who accused him of working for the CIA. He discussed the experience with Margaret Warner on PBS's NewsHour.

"Embattled Beat"
In October 2004, Terence Smith of PBS's NewsHour spoke with Brian Rooney of ABC News, Rajiv Chandrasekaran of The Washington Post and Brian Bennett of Time magazine about the dangers and challenges of reporting from Iraq.

"Iraq, the Press and the Election"
This commentary in The New York Review of Books, published in December 2004, analyzes how coverage of Iraq by major news outlets and the escalating danger that journalists faced in Iraq affected the 2004 U.S. presidential election.

"Battlefields and Bylines"
As reporters risked their lives to cover stories in Iraq, major media outlets -- normally competitors -- shared resources in an attempt to keep their employees safe. In April 2004, The NewsHour's Terence Smith spoke with John Burns, Baghdad bureau chief of The New York Times, and Eason Jordan, chief news executive of CNN, about the shift from competition to cooperation among news agencies in Iraq.

"Al-Arabiya Reporter Killed, Two Other Journalists Wounded in Baghdad"
Television reporter Mazen al-Temeizi was taping a report when U.S. helicopters opened fire on Haifa Street in Baghdad in September 2004. He screamed on camera and died moments later. Two other journalists were wounded. This article from the Committee to Protect Journalists recounts the event.

"Cameraman Mazen Dana Killed in Iraq"
Mazen Dana, a Palestinian cameraman featured in the FRONTLINE/World story "In the Line of Fire," was killed in Iraq on August 17, 2003 when U.S. soldiers reportedly mistook his camera for a grenade launcher.

"Journalists As Targets Covering War in Iraq"
On NPR News, Hannah Allam, Baghdad bureau chief for the Knight Ridder News Service, reflects on how reporting from Iraq shifted from thrilling to terrifying as the insurgents gained firepower.

Email From Farnaz Fassihi
In September 2004, Wall Street Journal reporter Farnaz Fassihi sent a private -- and very candid -- email to friends, describing in terrifying detail the dangers she faced as a journalist in Iraq. Her honesty and blunt criticism of the war skyrocketed the email across the Internet, and it became a prominent news item in and of itself.

"Journalists' Safety Is Top Priority"
This article covers the "safety industry" that has sprung up around journalists' reporting from war zones. Counseling and hazardous environment courses are offered to staff reporters and freelancers.

"Deadliest Year in 10 for Media"
Most journalists who have died in Iraq thus far were Iraqis working for U.S. organizations. This article from December 2004 covers the year's other hot spots for reporters around the world.

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Press Freedom Organizations

Committee to Protect Journalists
The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented and protested abusive treatment of journalists since 1981. Its Web site includes a list of journalists killed during the past 10 years, a feature on the jump in 2004 of the number of journalists killed, a list of the journalists killed in 2004 and cases of attacks on journalists around the world, listed by country.

Article 19
The British group Article 19 takes its name from the article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that protects free expression and access to official information. Its Web site includes a handbook on press freedom and censorship, with documents on print media, film and the Internet.

Cartoonists Rights Network
Journalists aren't the only media professionals who get in trouble for their work. The Cartoonists Rights Network keeps track of editorial cartoonists who have been censored or punished for poking fun at the powerful. This Web site features short profiles of cartoonists as well as some of the "irreverent" cartoons that criticize the status quo in such countries as Nigeria, Turkey, Egypt, Cameroon and Sri Lanka.

Freedom Forum
The Freedom Forum promotes First Amendment rights and ethnic diversity in American newsrooms. Its online Newseum offers up exhibits on major stories of the past century, including commentary of war correspondents who covered World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Central America, Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and the Gulf War.

Index on Censorship
This quarterly British magazine publishes a regularly updated list of free speech violations occurring in more than 70 countries. Its Web site features current news and analysis of international press restrictions. Commentary direct from Baghdad covers how U.S. occupying forces control the fledgling independent Iraqi press.

International Federation of Journalists
The International Federation of Journalists is the world's largest organization of journalists, with 450,000 members in more than 100 countries. The group supports journalists who wish to organize independent trade unions and provides aid to journalists in need.

International Press Institute
The International Press Institute, based in Vienna, has opposed infringements on press freedoms for more than 50 years. It publishes an annual report, "World Press Freedom Review," that covers media freedom around the world. In 2003, it produced "Caught in the Crossfire: The Iraq War and the Media," a report on press freedom violations in Iraq.

Reporters Sans Frontiéres
This French press watchdog organization keeps track of those who attempt to silence independent journalists. The group's trilingual Web site -- English, French and Spanish -- includes reports on the current state of press freedom in every country and a list of currently imprisoned journalists. A world map color-codes freedom of the press worldwide. The United States' rank is "satisfactory."

Each year on May 3, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization commemorates World Press Freedom Day. Established in 1991, the day is meant to remind governments and citizens around the world of the importance of a free, independent press. The 2002 World Press Freedom Day conference featured a video interview with Marianne Pearl, widow of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

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Remembering Slain Journalists

Reporters Sans Frontiéres -- 2004 Annual Report
This report includes brief descriptions of how 12 journalists and two media assistants were killed in Iraq in 2004 as well as information on missing, wounded, kidnapped, imprisoned, arrested, attacked and harassed journalists.

Committee to Protect Journalists: Journalists Killed in 2004
Twenty-three in Iraq. Three in Bangladesh. Two in Russia. Eight in the Philippines. Two in Nicaragua. This document lists all of the journalists who were killed in 2004 because of their work, including their biographies and how they died.

Impunity No More
This Web site, produced by the Inter American Press Association, honors Latin American journalists killed for their reporting on corruption, crime and human rights abuses. It includes profiles of slain journalists as well as the results of investigations into their deaths. Featured journalists include Brazilian television reporter Tim Lopes, killed in June 2002 while reporting on drug trafficking in Rio de Janeiro, and Jean Leopold Dominique, a prominent Haitian radio reporter shot dead outside his station in April 2000.

The Last Photograph
In this harrowing account published in the July 26, 2002, edition of the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, columnist Gideon Levy describes the fatal shooting in Jenin of Palestinian freelance journalist Imad Abu Zahra.

Death of an Irish Heroine
In June 1996, investigative reporter Veronica Guerin was shot and killed in Dublin. Guerin, who had made a name exposing Ireland's criminal underworld, had been shot and assaulted on previous occasions in retaliation for her investigations. In March 2002, the conviction of the man sentenced to life in prison for murdering Guerin was overturned. In this profile, a BBC correspondent pays tribute to Guerin.

The Daniel Pearl Foundation
During his career at The Wall Street Journal, journalist Daniel Pearl gained a reputation for brilliant reporting and original writing. The foundation established in his honor remembers his accomplishments and encourages journalists, writers and musicians to follow in his footsteps. The Wall Street Journal has put some of Pearl's best stories online.

Freedom Forum Online Memorial
The Freedom Forum maintains an online memorial for journalists and photographers killed on the job over the course of nearly two centuries. The list starts with James Lingan, who was stomped to death in Baltimore in 1812 by an angry mob upset by his reporting about local politicians. The site also lists the dead by name, country of origin, employer and country of death.

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Keeping Journalists Safe

Battlefield Bylines
During the Vietnam War, American journalists had almost unfettered access to the action on the ground. That changed during the Gulf War, when the Pentagon announced strict new rules for reporters following U.S. troops on the battlefield. This PBS NewsHour segment from December 2002 looks at how the Pentagon and the press negotiated their often tense relationship as the war in Iraq was approaching.

Ten Days in Colombia
In January 2003, right-wing paramilitaries in a remote part of Colombia kidnapped American freelance journalist Robert Young Pelton and two companions. After 10 days, the three were released unharmed. (Around the same time, leftist rebels kidnapped and released two British journalists who were working for the Los Angeles Times.) Pelton recounts his experience in this interview with National Geographic. Asked how others might prepare for traveling in the area where he was seized, Pelton advises, "[Y]ou have to have a group of armed men with you."

The International News Safety Institute (INSI) is a coalition of news agencies, press freedom groups, unions and humanitarian agencies working together to create safe environments for journalists. Its Web site posts safety guidelines for journalists on assignment, including tips such as this: "Carry cigarettes and other giveaways as sweeteners. Stay calm and try to appear relaxed if troops or locals appear threatening."

What to Bring Into the Field
In this excerpt from his book Pen and Sword: A Journalist's Guide to Covering the Military, Ed Offley provides some packing tips for journalists planning to head to a war zone. Sturdy, comfortable clothing is a must -- as long as it's not in camouflage design.

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Film: Journalists in Danger

Dangerous reporting, politics and ethics collide in many of these movies -- both feature films and documentaries -- highlighting the risks that journalists take to defend freedom of the press.

Control Room
This documentary from 2004 profiles reporters for Al-Jazeera -- the Arab world's equivalent of CNN -- and poses important questions about access to information and what qualifies as propaganda.

This feature film is based on the real-life experiences of Ed Horman, a politically conservative father from the United States who searched for his son, a journalist who went missing while covering a coup in Chile.

Live From Baghdad
CNN was the only news organization to broadcast live, firsthand reports during the Gulf War. This film illustrates the tenacity of reporters who stayed in Baghdad when the bombs started to fall.

Veronica Guerin
This feature film is based on the true story of Irish reporter Veronica Guerin, who spent 18 months investigating Dublin's drug trade. She was assassinated in 1996.

The Killing Fields
This Oscar-winning feature film tells the story of two journalists -- American New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg and Cambodian reporter Dith Pran -- who attempted to cover the Cambodian civil war and the advance of the Khmer Rouge.

The Quiet American
Based on the Graham Greene novel of the same name, this film tells the story of a British journalist covering Vietnam in the 1950s. The first version of the film was made in 1958, and the second in 2002.

The Year of Living Dangerously
A rookie foreign correspondent winds up covering an anti-Communist coup in Indonesia in the 1960s in this feature film.

The dramatized story of John Reed, a leftist American journalist who covered Russia's October Revolution in 1917.

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