Pentagon should probe journalists' deaths in Iraq, says watchdog

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NEW YORK: The Committee to Protect Journalists urged the Pentagon Monday to investigate the death of journalists in Iraq at the hands of US forces in that country.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, CPJ executive director Joel Simon said that a total of 16 journalists and three assistants were killed by US troops in Iraq.

Among the dead were reporters with Reuters news agency, killed in 2007 in an incident broadcast by Wikileaks, an Internet site that releases censored or classified information.

That video, released this month, was broadcast on television around the world and seen by millions on the Internet.

"We renew our call for comprehensive, impartial, and public inquiries into all of these cases, including the events of July 12, which led to the deaths of (Namir) Noor-Eldeen and (Saeed) Chmagh," Simon wrote.

"These investigations would benefit both the military and the media so long as the lessons learned are integrated into future training," he argued.

The New York-based media rights group published its 2010 "Impunity Index" earlier this month, a list of a dozen countries where journalists are killed regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes — topping the list was Iraq with 88 unsolved journalist murders.

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