They wear body armor, have satellite phones and know how to detect snipers, while writing newspaper articles. War reporters: adrenaline junkies, sometimes idealistic, or both. They operate in a context of increasingly dangerous. The legendary Marie Colvin is just the latest victim of this particular kind of journalist.
Marie Colvin died the same way that many civilians that she talked about in her stories: victim of a bombing in Syria. “It’s hell,” testified the legendary journalist before her death, February 22.
Zoriah Miller, renowned war photographer, knows the risks of the job. “You never know how you’re near a mine or a bomb, he said. Once, I was about to enter one of the tunnels that connect Gaza to Egypt, but I was delayed. Moments later, the tunnel collapsed. Another time, Israeli soldiers shot and seriously wounded one of my colleagues, and once again, a suicide bomber in Baghdad was executed at a governmental conference that I had just left. ”
Welcome to the dangerous world of war reporters. Last year, 42 journalists were killed worldwide. Of these, 25 were covering wars or dangerous areas.
This year, three war correspondents have been killed, all in Syria: Marie Colvin, Rémi Ochlik and Rami Al-Sayed. Currently, Syria, Iraq and Somalia are among the riskiest countries for journalists.
“In the past 12 or 18 months, a growing number of journalists, many of them Westerners, were killed while covering conflict or war, says Frank Smyth, Senior Advisor for the safety of journalists to the Committee for Protect Journalists. But the majority of journalists killed were local journalists covering local issues, and they are killed with impunity. ”
Most good war reporters are adrenaline junkies or motivated by a desire to reveal the truth, says Paul Moorcraft, a veteran business and friend of Marie Colvin. “The war reporting is the fertile soil of a particular psychological profile. These journalists are not doing what they do for money, most are freelancers. This is a genuine search for truth. ”
While in the past, war correspondents accompanied the armies, they are now often free agents. In a lecture last year, Marie Colvin explained why. “The public has a right to know what our government and our armed forces do on our behalf. We can, and indeed, we make a difference by exposing the horrors of war. ”
She added, however: “There has never been so dangerous to be a war correspondent, because journalists in combat zones have become prime targets.”
Many reporters are choosing to stay safe in hotels. Jeremy Bowen, a war reporter for the BBC, recalls with dismay of his colleagues in Afghanistan.
“He got up, opened his computer and threw a look at the son of press imparted some texts, read them, digested them and went on the roof. Then someone in London could say, “Americans say they have conducted 24 raids last night.” Correspondent said then: “That’s right, and the areas most affected are Kandahar and military targets Kabul. “That is not journalism.”
Read: Surviving the War
Rosie Garthwaite “How To Avoid Being Killed in a Warzone” her latest book, a war reporter for 32 years, delivers tips to survive the extreme journalism.
Here are a few other necessities recommend that veterans with difficult terrain. “A water bottle and very resistant flashlights with very numerous batteries to deal with power cuts,” recommends Leith Mushtaq, an Al Jazeera cameraman.
Others advise to bring clean needles, antiseptics, of water purification tablets and a mobile chess game. “The danger seems to excite everyone!” Rosie Garthwaite.