Jay Rosen has received this response from the BBC's Richard Sambrook, who was on the Davos panel where CNN's Eason Jordan made his controversial remarks. Sambrook believes that Jordan's initial comments (which he later tried to correct and clarify) have been widely misunderstood. A long excerpt:
Eason's comments were a reaction to a statement that journalists killed in Iraq amounted to "collateral damage". His point was that many of these journalists (and indeed civilians) killed in Iraq were not accidental victims--as suggested by the terms "collateral damage"--but had been "targeted", for example by snipers.
He clarified this comment to say he did not believe they were targeted because they were journalists, although there are others in the media community who do hold that view (personally, I don't). They had been deliberately killed as individuals-- perhaps because they were mistaken for insurgents, we don't know. However the distinction he was seeking to make is that being shot by a sniper, or fired at directly is very different from being, for example, accidentally killed by an explosion.
Some in the audience, and Barney Frank on the panel, took him to mean US troops had deliberately set out to kill journalists. That is not what he meant or, in my view, said; and he clarified his comment a number of times to ensure people did not misunderstand him. However, they seem to have done so.
A second point he made, which in my view is extremely important, is that when journalists have been killed by the military in conflict it has been almost impossible to have an open inquiry or any accountability for the death on behalf of families, friends or employers. Very little information is released, we know investigations do take place but the results are not passed on.
This culture of "closing ranks" coupled with hostile comments about the media from senior politicians and others, has led some in the media community (not necessarily Eason or myself) to believe the military are careless as to whether journalists are killed or not and to no longer respect the traditional right to report.
As yet, for example, there has been no adequate explanation for the attack on the media hotel in Baghdad, the Palestine, which killed one Ukrainian Reuters cameraman and one cameraman for Spanish TV in 2003. The US tank commander suggested he had come under sniper fire from the building. That is now clearly not the case; it was well known, including in the Pentagon, that the Palestine was used by the media and yet it was attacked directly and purposely. Why? An absence of explanation unhelpfully feeds suspicion in some quarters.
Sambrook says he is leading an international inquiry to find out why journalist fatalities worldwide have dramatically increased in the past few years. They may recommend changes in international law "which ensure that when journalists are killed we can get a proper and open investigation and sense of accountability."