Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dangers of War Reporting

It may seem like an obvious point to make. Of course reporting on war is dangerous. The unpredictability of warfare means that anything, a mine, a car bomb, a piece of shrapnel, a ricochet or a trigger happy fighter can all cut a journalist's career short. But I can't help noting how war journalist are being killed at an ever increasing rate. In fact, there were 64 journalists killed worldwide in 2007. Most of these killings were targeted attacks as opposed to random battlefield accidents or crossfire. Watch the tragic video below that shows the chaotic aftermath of a Russian air strike on the Georgian town of Gori in which Dutch Cameraman Stan Storimans is killed along with four innocent civilians.



Other recent cases of note include the legendary war Correspondent Kurt Schork, gunned down by a Child Soldier in Sierra Leone in 2000. ITN's Terry Loyd, Killed in a firefight between US forces and the Iraqi Army on the outskirts of Basra in 2003. And Simon Cumbers, the BBC Cameraman from Navan, murdered by Al Qaeda while filming in a suburb of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Irishman Simon Cumbers was murdered by Al Qaeda in 2004

It appears that rebel forces these days often see journalists as the enemy as opposed to a potential ally whom they can try and win over. Regarding the alarming amount of journalists killed by conventional armies I can't help thinking that in modern warfare the rules of engagement are understood in a way that makes it clear how to kill a journalist and get away with it.

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