Reporters on the Job

THE VIEW INSIDE NASIRIYAH: Reporter Philip Smucker was one of the first Western journalists to drive around the city of Nasiriyah Thursday (page 1). Philip and a British colleague asked a doctor from the local hospital, who spoke English, to show them around. "We saw a chaotic city halfway between freedom and totalitarian rule. Some of the portraits of Saddam were desecrated, others were still up. There was a lot of looting going on."

"The Iraqis I saw and spoke to were greeting American soldiers, and me, with a cautious welcome. They were happy to see Americans but not overjoyed. They're still afraid. They still fear retribution from the regime, and said that if you're liberating us, give us protection."

"We drove past the doctor's home (located near Baath Party offices) which had been destroyed by US bombs. None of his family had been injured. He had no animosity toward the US, but was concerned about the looting."

INSIDE EGYPTIAN TV: In order to be allowed into Egypt's state-run TV offices in Cairo, a reporter needs first to sign up with the state-run official press office, which is in the same building. When the Monitor's Danna Harman went in to sign up, "A plump, jolly woman in a veil took me under her wing, literally, and said she would be my contact at the office," says Danna. "Then, we sat down with the forms but she pushed them aside, held both my hands and looked me straight in the eye: 'What do you think about this crazy war?' she demanded. 'What do you think about this crazy president Bush? Is this about Israel's security? What about the security of the Palestinian people? The Iraqi people?' She went on and on and ended by saying, 'We hate the American government here, but not American people like you, whom we want to help.... What are you interested in writing about?'

"I responded: about slants and biases in the media and how difficult it can be to avoid them (page 1).' Without batting an eyelash, she said: 'Oh, that is a marvelous story, and we can organize many good interviews for you, to show Americans how fair and objective we are.'"

BBC JOURNALIST DIES: Kaveh Golestan, a freelance cameraman working for the BBC, was killed Thursday when he stepped on a land mine as he climbed out of his car in the northern Iraqi town of Kilfrey. Mr. Golestan was a colleague and friend of Monitor reporters. He is the third journalist killed since the start of the Iraq war. Two journalists working for the British Independent Television Network are still missing in southern Iraq.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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