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Inbedded Journalists Quiting Rolls

by C/O Diogenes Sunday, Apr. 13, 2003 at 5:40 PM

But the US military is not happy with this development. "We would really rather they did not do this," said Major Tim Blair, the US army officer in charge of the embed programme, citing safety concerns.

Journalists quit embedded roles

Jason Deans

Friday April 11, 2003

The Guardian

British and American journalists embedded with coalition forces are beginning to strike out on their own in Iraq, as the military conflict appears to be drawing to a close and broadcasters, including the BBC and ITV, start to operate on their own.

But Iraq remains a dangerous place for journalists, with outbreaks of public disorder and widespread looting following the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime and armed forces loyal to the dictator still at large.

A small convoy of vehicles transporting American journalists, including CBS news anchor Dan Rather, was threatened by armed Iraqis during its journey to Baghdad yesterday, before coming under the protection of the US 3rd Infantry division on the outskirts of the city.

"Scary characters came out of the woodwork, coming out from small villages and side streets," said Kimberly Dozier, a journalist with New York's WCBS-TV station who was travelling with Rather, in a report broadcast last night.

The BBC has removed all its embedded journalists around Baghdad from their military units and told them to make their way to the Palestine Hotel, the base for western media in the city centre, a BBC spokeswoman said.

BBC foreign correspondent David Willis, who filed a dramatic report from Baghdad yesterday detailing a pitched battle around a mosque where Iraqi leaders were thought to be holed up, is one of the journalists now operating independently.

ITV News reporter James Mates, who was embedded with a US unit, is also now working independently of the military, according to ITV news supplier ITN.

US journalists have also ended their embedding arrangement with the armed forces, according to reports in the US press.

The Palestine Hotel is being guarded by US marines and is thought to be one of the safest places for journalists in Baghdad, even though two reporters were killed there on Tuesday after an American tank fired on the hotel.

"Despite the tragic events earlier this week, the Palestine Hotel is regarded as one of the safest places in Baghdad. It's also where we've got all out our facilities for sending reports back to the UK," said a BBC spokeswoman.

"The feeling, now that the US military has arrived in Baghdad, is that the situation has changed. Our correspondents can get a clearer picture of what's going on there by operating independently," she added.

At least 20 of the 500 journalists embedded with UK and US armed forces have left their units, with some leaving Iraq but many more continuing to operate in the country as independents, according to the New York Times.

US news organisations including CNN, NBC, ABC, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post have pulled reporters out of military units in the past few days.

But the US military is not happy with this development.

"We would really rather they did not do this," said Major Tim Blair, the US army officer in charge of the embed programme, citing safety concerns. © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 9 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Having fulfilled... Diogenes Sunday, Apr. 13, 2003 at 5:44 PM
Noone's buying it tired of your garbage Sunday, Apr. 13, 2003 at 6:21 PM
Who is this... Diogenes Sunday, Apr. 13, 2003 at 6:31 PM
I prefer Coors Light.. To know it all Sunday, Apr. 13, 2003 at 6:47 PM
Curious fresca Sunday, Apr. 13, 2003 at 7:00 PM
Coors Light???? Diogenes Sunday, Apr. 13, 2003 at 7:07 PM
The lighter side of Diogenes..... Adolf Coors Sunday, Apr. 13, 2003 at 7:11 PM
I have to agree with Dio on this one fresca Sunday, Apr. 13, 2003 at 7:16 PM
Don't you miss being a drunk? Bugs Sunday, Apr. 13, 2003 at 9:48 PM

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