BBC cameraman killed in Iraq

New York, April 2, 2003
Kaveh Golestan, an Iranian free-lance cameraman on assignment for the BBC, was killed today in northern Iraq after stepping on a land mine, the BBC confirmed.

Golestan accidentally detonated the mine when he exited his car near the town of Kifri, John Morrissey of the BBC’s foreign desk told CPJ. The cameraman was traveling as part of a four-person BBC crew that included Tehran, Iran, bureau chief Jim Muir, producer Stuart Hughes, and a translator. Hughes’ foot was injured and later treated by U.S. military medics. Muir and the translator suffered light cuts, Morrissey said.

Golestan, who was also a well-known still photographer, had worked frequently with the BBC out of its Tehran bureau.

Golestan is the third journalist killed in the line of duty since the conflict in Iraq began two weeks ago. Last week, a fourth journalist died in northern Iraq after falling off a hotel roof in an apparent accident.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Kaveh Golestan and send our deepest sympathies to his family, friends, and colleagues,” said CPJ acting director Joel Simon.

In other developments:

  • In its ongoing inquiry into the March 25 bombing of Iraqi state-run TV, CPJ met today with the U.S. Central Command in Doha, Qatar, which told CPJ that the U.S. had conducted the attack because “the same transmitting equipment being used for radio and TV reports is being used for command and control; any time [the Iraqi military] wants to give orders, they transmit via the broadcast signal.” Centcom explained that, “Radio and TV transmitters are being used to give command and control for things like anti-aircraft batteries.” CPJ continues to investigate the incident and has asked for a full explanation in a letter sent to U.S. defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld [Click here to read letter.]
  • On March 31, Iraqi forces detained journalist Peter Wilson and photographer John Feder of The Australian, along with their Kuwaiti translator, in the southern Iraqi city of Basra. The three men, who were traveling in an unmarked four-wheel-drive vehicle, were questioned and taken to the capital, Baghdad, though they were not harmed, according to the newspaper. The Australian editor Michael Stutchbury reported yesterday that the men were detained for “passport violations.” Authorities confiscated their car and equipment, he said. Stutchbury added that the three are currently confined to the Palestine Hotel and are unable to file stories. Stuchbury said the paper does not know whether the journalists will be expelled or allowed to resume work.
  • Seven Italian journalists, whom Iraqi authorities detained on March 28, also remain confined to the Palestine Hotel. According to representatives of some of their news organizations, the journalists are barred from working but can move about the hotel. Their passports and other belongings, however, were confiscated. It is unclear whether they will be expelled or allowed to resume work.
  • On Monday, March 31, Iraqi authorities ordered reporter Ian McPhedran, of Australia’s Daily Telegraph, to leave the country for “breaking the rules” by leaving his hotel unescorted. McPhedran wrote today from Amman, Jordan, that while in Baghdad, he had “decided to head to the Information Ministry, across the river [from his hotel], to file an eyewitness report about a U.S. missile attack on the area.” He says he received permission from an Iraqi official to leave the hotel.