New Zealand journalists have joined the international condemnation of United States attacks which have left independent journalists dead and wounded in Baghdad, according to a statement here Thursday.
The New Zealand journalists union, which is called the Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU), Wednesday sent a strongly worded message to the United States Embassy in Wellington demanding an explanation for the attacks on the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad and the Al Jazeera and Abu Dhabi television offices.
The EPMU said in its statement that the role of independent journalists is vital to the public's right to truthful and balanced reporting of the war, and their right to safety is paramount.
The United States has repeatedly boasted in this war of its ability to hit specific targets without hitting innocent bystanders, the EPMU said, adding that it knew that the international press corps lived and worked at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, yet two journalists died and three were wounded when blasts hit the hotel.
"As the union representing journalists in New Zealand, we demand an explanation for these incidents in which journalists working in locations which were clearly identified appear to have been targeted. We support the international calls for a thorough and independent investigation into these tragic events," EPMU's statement said.
The EPMU's National Secretary Andrew Little said that members throughout the country had expressed outrage over the attacks.
The EPMU is a member of the International Federation of Journalists, which represents more than 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries.