CNN ripped apart rival news channel Fox News for airing a story that said foreign journalists were used by Libyan authorities as human shields.
Veteran CNN correspondent Nic Robertson said the Fox report that the presence of foreign correspondents, including those from CNN and Reuters, in Gaddafi’s compound was manipulated by the Libyan authorities so as to prevent the allied forces from launching fresh air attacks.
Robertson said the report was outrageous and hypocritical and that he did not expect journalists to lie. I expect lies from the government here. I don't expect it from other journalists. It's frankly incredibly disappointing, he said.
The CNN correspondent tore into the rival news team for not getting out enough but rather reporting from within the safety of hotel rooms. He refuted the Fox report that said the news team that was at Gaddafi's compound on Sunday was a part of propaganda trip and said contrary to Fox's
claims, one of their staff was with the team, though he was not a journalist or a cameraman.
Robertson said the Fox news team sent a person who was neither a journalist nor a cameraman, while the correspondent stayed in the hotel. He was given a camera by the cameraman and the correspondent who stayed in the hotel and didn't go out, a correspondent who very rarely leaves his hotel. I don't know who he's talking to here to pick up and find out what the story is.
Earlier on Monday, a Fox report had said the Libyan authorities brought civilians to the bombed-out Gaddafi compound to act as human shields to prevent further strikes.
Officials from Libya's Ministry of Information brought those journalists to the area to show them damage from the initial attack and to effectively use them as human shields, the report said, adding that Fox had information that British fighter jets abandoned a planned strike as they learnt about the presence of civilians in the compound.
Robertson said there was no attempt by the Libyan minders to restrict any member of the 40-member journalist group from getting on or off the bus before they left.
We were taken there. We went in through the security. We filmed the building. We were given 15, 20 minutes to do that, five minutes in Gaddafi's tent and then we were taken out.
And I was literally physically pushed back on the bus when we left. That's how quickly the government officials wanted to get us out, Robertson said, refuting charges that the authorities wanted to use them as shields.
Meanwhile, Britain's Telegraph newspaper reported on Tuesday that the Royal Air Force fighter jets abandoned a mission targeting Gaddafi's compound after learning about the presence of civilians there.
As the RAF GR4 Tornados approached the target, further information came to light that identified a number of civilians within the intended target area. As a result the decision was taken not to launch weapons,” the newspaper quoted Maj Gen John Lorimer, the chief of defense staff’s strategic communications officer, as saying.