The first casualty is truth

Ari Fleischer gave this ominous warning to journalists on February 28: "If the military says something, I strongly urge all journalists to heed it," adding, "It is in your own interest and that of your family too. And I mean that." Reacting to what amounts to a veiled threat, and concerned about effective war coverage, the international journalists' rights organisation Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters without Borders) has warned US authorities not to obstruct the media in its reporting of the war in Iraq, demanding that the international media be allowed to work "freely and in safety." They questioned the policy of "embedding," which is offered only to reporters who sign a 50-point conduct about their behavior while in Iraq. One provision of the contract allows commanders to "embargo" news that could damage "operational security."

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