Skip to comments.'Iraqis did have Scuds'admits Channel 4 reporter, self-censored her reports
Posted on 06/11/2003 4:02:21 AM PDT by Pikamax
'Iraqis did have Scuds'
Ciar Byrne Wednesday June 11, 2003
Channel 4 News diplomatic correspondent Lindsey Hilsum has admitted that she "self-censored" her reports from Baghdad and did not tell viewers that Saddam Hussein's regime was hiding Scud missile launchers in residential areas, because she did not want to be thrown out of the city. Hilsum saw a missile launcher in a back street of Baghdad after losing her way when driving to the scene of the first marketplace bombing in the city, in which 14 people were killed.
Although Channel 4 News was not censored by Saddam's secret police, the Mukhabarat, Hilsum decided not to report on what she had seen for fear of being ejected from the city.
"We were not censored. Some of the broadcasters had Mukhabarat with them all the time. Channel 4 News didn't have any problems like that. But there was one occasion when we did censor ourselves," she said.
"After the first marketplace bombing we heard there had been a hit and we were able to go there in our own vehicle. We got lost and a couple of blocks from where the two missiles had hit there was a Scud missile launcher with a Scud on top.
"We then realised the Iraqis were hiding Scuds in residential areas. If I'd said that I think we would have been thrown out the next day," she told a Media Society event last night.
Hilsum thought she had found a way round the problem when the American military issued a statement about the marketplace bombing, saying they had been aiming at eight or nine missile launchers in the area.
However, the Americans later retracted this statement.
"I put in my copy: 'They may have been aiming at missile launchers in the area'. Then the Americans realised that if people put two and two together and realised that if they'd hit one of those launchers a lot more than 14 people would have been killed. Then they changed their minds and said the Iraqis must have hit themselves," she said.
When covering future combats, Hilsum said broadcasters should ensure that if they hire security guards they should not be allowed to carry arms, as happened in Iraq.
The issue was highlighted when a CNN team accompanied by an armed bodyguard returned fire at an Iraqi manned checkpoint in Tikrit. The decision to carry arms was lambasted by international press watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres, but a CNN spokeswoman denied the broadcaster had set a "dangerous precedent".
"I know this happened in Baghdad - that security officers hired by broadcasters carried weapons. I know it's still going on," said Hilsum.
"If we carry weapons we become combatants and have no right to ask any army or rebel group to respect our independence and we have to be clear as an industry that this is going on," she told an audience of fellow journalists.
Hilsum also said it was a "scandal" that three American networks pulled out of Baghdad before the war began. On top of that, the former Iraqi regime ejected Fox News and CNN, meaning American viewers had no home-grown account of what was going on in the city.
She blamed the withdrawal of the US networks on "pressure from the Pentagon", adding that even small American newspapers had reporters in Baghdad.
"The Atlanta Constitution had two correspondents but the American networks weren't there and that's very serious because it means the Americans don't know what happened," Hilsum said.
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British viewers had no home-grown account of what was going on in the city either, thanks to the self censorship of Ms. Hilsum. What a bizarre twit.
How stupid is this?
H'mm let's see how this works.
If a "journalist" reports what is actually going on, he will be deported.
Yes, but if he doesn't report what's going on, the "Americans don't know what happened."
This would only make sense to a college professor.
This would cause a stupidometer to explode.
Nice post, this is Vey Series and HUGH!
They were mostly SA-2 Surface to Air Missles. Large, but thinner than a SCUD.
I don't think this reporter could tell a SCUD from a Saturn V.
There were no SCUDs fired at all in the war.
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