For a second year running, the U.S. led war on Iraq and heightened security in the country continue to dominate press freedom issues at home and abroad. The war and counter-terrorism related issues can broadly be divided into three areas: journalists killed in combat, legal efforts to force reporters to reveal their sources, and US visa regulations for foreign journalists. REPORTERS KILLED: By the latest count, 26 Iraqi and foreign journalists and media employees have been killed during the Iraqi conflict, either by US troops, militia gunmen or terrorist bombings, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The Pentagon has accepted responsibility for the deaths of two Iraqi journalists March 18 at a military roadblock in Iraq. After an investigation Pentagon officials said the soldiers fired in self-defense, and were aiming at another car speeding towards the roadblock. The US later offered "sympathy payments" to the families of the two journalists. In April, Assad Kadhim, a correspondent of the US-funded television station, Al-Iraqiya, and his driver, Hussein Saleh, were killed when American forces opened fire on their car near the central city of Samara. Camaraman Bassem Kamel was also injured in the incident. Following the meeting in Chicago, the IAPA asked the Pentagon for a thorough and public investigation into the deaths last year of four journalists in Iraq. The IAPA also asked the Pentagon for a full explanation of its rules of engagement in Iraq, in the interest of transparency, in order to reduce the risk of other journalists being killed there. The NYT reported on Oct 24 that the Pentagon is reviewing whether to reopen an inquiry into the case of four Iraqi journalists who said they were abused in January at a US military base. The four were employed by foreign media organizations working in Iraq, three for Reuters and one for NBC News. Both Reuters and NBC have complained that the original Pentagon inquiry was inadequate. The Pentagon has denied they were tortured. The case was originally dismissed by the Pentagon. But officials are reportedly considering reopening the case in the light of abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison. The case apparently involves abuses similar to those found at Abu Ghraib. The four men were arrested after trying to report on the downing of an American helicopter near Falluja. They were held for about three days. They say that American soldiers hit them, deprived them of sleep and made them assume painful positions. They also said they were threatened with sexual assault and photographed while being forced to simulate sex acts. In regard to CONFIDENTIAL SOURCES, an on-going federal grand jury probe into the leak of CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity, has led to two reporters being held in contempt of court for refusing to reveal confidential sources. The special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, has conducted his investigation in a disturbing manner. He has asked several government employees, who may or may not be suspected as sources of these alleged leaks, to sign documents releasing reporters from any confidentiality agreements they may have made. The pressure on the employees to sign these waivers is obvious. Worse, these unprecedented legal maneuvers would have the ultimate effect of discouraging government employees from revealing information important to the public on a confidential basis, because they could not be assured the confidence would be kept. A federal judge is pursuing the records of White House contacts with a number of journalists. So far four have been sub-poened to testify. The investigations stem from the mention in a Robert Novak column of the name of CIA officer Plame, whose husband is former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, a critic of the Bush administration's Iraq policy. Disclosure of the identity of an undercover intelligence officer can be a federal crime, if prosecutors can show the leak was intentional. A federal judge in Washington DC held US reporter Judith Miller of the New York Times in contempt of court on Oct 7 for not disclosing confidential sources to prosecutors investigating the official leak. Miller was ordered to be held in jail until she agrees to testify about her sources before a grand jury. She was allowed to remain free while her lawyer appeals the judge's ruling. The same judge ordered Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper jailed on Oct 13 for up to 18 months and the magazine fined $1,000 a day for refusing to testify. His sentence also has been suspended pending the outcome of an appeal. Cooper had earlier agreed to provide limited testimony to the grand jury after one of his sources released him from a promise of confidentiality. But a special prosecutor later issued a second, broader subpoena seeking the names of other sources. Miller and Times Executive Editor Bill Keller have said they would not agree to provide testimony even under those circumstances. At least two other reporters, from NBC and The Washington Post, have been subpoened to testify in the same case. In the matter of ENTRY INTO THE US BY FOREIGN JOURNALISTS, while the number of reported incidents has dropped, foreign journalists continue to be detained and refused entry at US airports; this has raised concerns that the Bush administration's war on terrorism is being used to limit foreign media access. In a May 21 news release, US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, Robert C Bonner, announced that visa rules had been slightly modified. The statement said Border Protection agents had been given discretionary authority to admitt foreign media with visas other than the I category required of visiting journalists. Foreign journalists will now be allowed to enter the US if they have mistakenly failed to apply for an I visa prior to arrival. But this permission will only be granted on a one-time basis. A journalist who benefits from this dispensation may not be allowed to enter the country a second time without the I visa. US Customs and Border Protection officials insist that the detentions of foreign journalists did not result from new orders being issued regarding the I-visa requirement. Instead, officials said it resulted from tighter Customs monitoring since Sept 2001. Foreign journalists entering the US have always been required by law to obtain an I visa. However, in the past it was customory for foreign media to be allowed entry for up to 90 days with only a tourisit visa if they were from one of 27 countries who qualify under a 1986 Visa Waiver Program. One final matter should be noted. The Provisional Authority in Iraq shut down an anti-US newspaper in Iraq, that published allegations about the war which officials said put the safety of US forces at risk. The closure prompted protests in the streets of Baghdad and the burning of the US flag.