Journalists Snub Straw
walk out of press conference in protest
at deaths of Baghdad reporters
by Ciar Byrne
Wednesday April 9, 2003
journalists today snubbed Spain's prime minister and Britain's
foreign secretary in protest at the death of the Spanish TV cameraman
who was killed by a US tank shell in Baghdad.
At a speech at Madrid's senate today, Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar
expressed his condolences for Jose Couso, a journalist working for
Spanish TV network Tele 5 who was killed at the Palestine Hotel in
Baghdad, and for Julio Anguito Parrado, a Spanish journalist killed
on Monday when an Iraqi missile hit a US military base south of Baghdad.
However, between 30 and 40 journalists present boycotted the speech
by downing their cameras, microphones and notebooks and standing in
Also today about 20 Spanish journalists walked out of a press conference
in Paris with Jack Straw and his Spanish counterpart, Ana Palacio,
after just one question.
A colleague of Couso at Tele 5 asked Ms Palacio about reports that
US forces had declared the Palestine Hotel a military target 48 hours
before the blast that killed Couso and Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk.
The hotel has been the centre for most of the foreign media in the
Iraqi capital throughout the war.
Ms Palacio was evasive, referring the questioner to comments by the
Spanish defence minister, Federico Trillo, who recommended last night
that Spanish journalists should leave Baghdad because the city had
grown too dangerous. But she said Spain was determined to press the
US for a thorough investigation, saying: "I've been told there
circumstances that were at the least surprising."
Mr Aznar was targeted again in the afternoon in the lower chamber
of Spain's parliament as he arrived for a weekly question-and-answer
session with the opposition.
A dozen photographers, who usually gather round to film him taking
his seat, suddenly turned their backs on the prime minister and held
up enlarged photos of Couso. Opposition politicians clapped at the
gesture. Hundreds of journalists also protested on outside the US
embassy in Madrid. Mr Straw declared today he was "very concerned"
about the killing of journalists in Iraq and said he would demand
a detailed account about US attacks on the Palestine Hotel and the
offices of two Arabic television stations in Baghdad.
"I haven't had a detailed report but I'm going to ask for one
this morning about the precise circumstances of these deaths,"
Mr Straw said. "Of course, I'm very concerned indeed about the
deaths of the journalists, as I am about the deaths of all innocent
people in this conflict," he added. The US military has given
differing accounts of why one of its tanks fired on the journalists'
hotel, initially suggesting there was enemy sniper fire coming from
the building, and later claiming enemy binoculars had been spotted.
However, journalists on the scene yesterday said they had not heard
any gunfire coming from the hotel and one Associated Press photographer
questioned how the military could have seen enemy binoculars and not
journalists' camera lenses.
War toll: journalists killed,
missing and held in Iraq
Thursday April 10, 2003
1. Jose Couso - Spanish network Telecinco cameraman. Killed when
US tank opened fire on Palestine Hotel, Press suite in Baghdad
2. Taras Protsyuk - Ukrainian / Reuters cameraman. Killed in the Palestine
3. Tareq Ayyoub - Al-Jazeera cameraman. Killed during coalition bombing
raid hitting the Arabic TV station's Baghdad office.
4. Julio Anguita Parrado - Spanish newspaper El Mundo Reporter
5. Christian Liebig - German Focus magazine Journalist
6. Terry Lloyd - ITN correspondent. Killed in "friendly fire"
7. Paul Moran - Freelance Australian cameraman. Died in the first
few days of the conflict in N. Iraq..
8. Kaveh Golestan - Freelance BBC cameraman. Killed by landmine.
9. Michael Kelly - American journalist and Washington Post columnist.
* Killed in a Humvee accident.
10. Kamaran Abdurazaq Muhamed - BBC translator. Killed in "friendly
11. Gaby Rado - Channel 4 News foreign affairs correspondent. * Found
dead at a hotel in northern Iraq.
12. David Bloom - NBC TV correspondent. * Died of a pulmonary embolism
while covering the war
* Non combat, unusual deaths.
1. Fred Nerac - French ITN cameraman. Missing following the ambush
that killed Terry Lloyd.
2. Hussein Osman - Lebanese translator. Missing in same ambush
DETAINED AND BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN RELEASED
3-9. Italian Corriere della Sera journalists working for , Il Giornale,
Il Messagero, L'Unita, Il Mattino, Il Sole 24-Ore and Il Resto Del
10. Marcin Firlej, Polish journalist with news channel TVN 24, escaped
after being captured south of Baghdad
11. Jacek Kaczmarek, journalist with Polish public radio, escaped
after being captured south of Baghdad