Fri, 21 Mar 2003

RSF condemns U.S. threats to media

Asia News Network, Paris

International journalists' rights organization, the Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF), has issued a warning to the United States, telling the U.S. authorities not to obstruct the media in its reporting of the war in Iraq and demanding that the international media be allowed to work "freely and in safety."

RSF also called into question the attitude of such U.S. media officials as White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, who on Feb. 28 warned journalists that "if the military says something, I strongly urge all journalists to heed it," for, he added, "it is in your own interest and that of your family, too. And I mean that."

Based on its experience with U.S. treatment of journalists attempting to report on America's recent war in Afghanistan, RSF expressed its concern that the U.S. military might censor journalists officially allowed to work among U.S. forces and that those "who opted to work independently would not be protected."

The organization also called on U.S. forces not to destroy Iraqi media facilities.