Iraq Bombings: Campbell warns on fake pictures

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The Independent Online
GOVERNMENT fears that the television coverage of bombing Iraq could turn public opinion against the war were highlighted yesterday with a Downing Street warning to "place a health warning" on some of the coverage from Baghdad.

As reports came in of an Iraqi hospital being damaged by a blast from a cruise missile in Baghdad, the Prime Minister's official spokesman urged journalists not to be taken in by the Iraqi propaganda machine.

He claimed Western television film crews had been duped in the Gulf War over the highly publicised bombing of a Iraqi plant making baby's milk. The Downing Street spokesman said on another occasion, workmen had been seen shortly before the television crews arrived, removing slates from another building to make it appear it had been hit.

"There should be a health warning attached to what the media is allowed to see," he said. The Downing Street spokesman said that much of the bombing was being directed at military targets outside Baghdad, believed to include the barracks of the Republican Guard. This was not being shown because film crews were being tightly controlled.

Television reporters in the Iraqi capital are being escorted to sites chosen by Saddam Hussein's regime. So far these have been sites the Iraqis claim are civilian buildings.

Most pictures are coming from crews on the roof of the Information Ministry. Some other pictures are also coming from the roof of the Al-Rashid Hotel where most journalists are staying. When the bombing begins, all foreign journalists have been ordered to stay either at the ministry or their hotel.