Reporters Without Borders condemns bombing of Iraqi national TV building in Baghdad

first_img News March 26, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Reporters Without Borders condemns bombing of Iraqi national TV building in Baghdad Help by sharing this information Reporters Without Borders today strongly condemned the bombing of the Iraqi national TV building in Baghdad during the night of 25-26 March, which put it off the air for a short time.”Military bombing must be limited to strictly military targets,” warned Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard.  “The Americans cite the Geneva Conventions when it comes to pictures of US prisoners of war in Iraq but then immediately forget them when they bomb a TV building which is civil property and therefore protected under those conventions.”In 2001, the US army bombed the offices of Al-Jazeera in Kabul.  It should be careful not to give the impression of routinely targeting media that oppose it.”The extent of the damage to the Iraqi TV building was not known because Iraqi officials kept journalists away from it.  The station resumed broadcasting 45 minutes after the bombing.  However, Shehab TV, the youth channel run by President Saddam Hussein’s eldest son Uday, went off the air after the bombing, leaving only the Iraqi national TV and the satellite channel broadcasting.US officials said the attack on the TV building was aimed at knocking out President Hussein’s means of communicating with the Iraqi people and army, citing the broadcast this week of pictures of US prisoners of war and bloody corpses of what the Iraqis said were American soldiers.These statements show that the building was deliberately attacked, even though under international law it cannot be a military target.   Propaganda is part of all warfare and is aimed at maintaining the morale of the population.  Neither this morale nor the civilian population can be considered a military target.In the past, other media accused of being vehicles for propaganda have been targeted in what are very dangerous precedents for the media.  During the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, planes attacked the headquarters of Serbian radio and TV (RTS) in the centre of Belgrade on 23 April 1999, killing 16 of its employees.On 19 January 2001, the Israeli army blew up the headquarters of the Voice of Palestine radio and TV headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.  The US bombed the Kabul offices of the pan-Arab TV station Al-Jazeera on 12 November that year during its war in Afghanistan.On 3 October 2001, US secretary of state Colin Powell asked Qatar’s ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Al-Jazeera’s main shareholder, to get the station to tone down its coverage of events.  A month later, its Kabul offices were bombed, supposedly because members of Al-Qaeda were hiding there.  Despite promises to Al-Jazeera, US officials have never made an official enquiry into the incident.Reporters Without Borders warned the US authorities on 19 March this year not to target broadcasting transmitters and media offices, including those used for propaganda. IraqMiddle East – North Africa Reporters Without Borders strongly condemned the bombing of the Iraqi national TV building in Baghdad during the night of 25-26 March and noted that international humanitarian law forbade it from being a military target. News to go further RSF’s 2020 Round-up: 50 journalists killed, two-thirds in countries “at peace” News News Iraq : Wave of arrests of journalists covering protests in Iraqi Kurdistan Follow the news on Iraq Three jailed reporters charged with “undermining national security” Receive email alerts IraqMiddle East – North Africa December 28, 2020 Find out more Organisation December 16, 2020 Find out more RSF_en February 15, 2021 Find out morelast_img

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