(Euronews: 0804 PST, April 21, 2011) Two award-winning war photographers are among Misurata's latest victims. They were killed after being caught in a rocket-propelled grenade attack, reportedly fired by government forces. Two other journalists in their group were injured.
Tim Hetherington, a 40-year-old British-American, was working in Libya for the US magazine Vanity Fair. He was best known for his work in Afghanistan; his Oscar-nominated documentary Restrepo featured a platoon of American soldiers in a remote and dangerous Afghan outpost. American photographer Chris Hondros was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and won multiple awards covering several conflicts.
(Democracy Now! 0800 PST, April 21, 2011) Award-winning photojournalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were killed Wednesday when a group of journalists came under fire in the western Libyan city of Misurata. The pair, who had both covered conflict zones around the world, were part of a group of six photographers reporting on the Libyan conflict in a particularly dangerous part of Misurata.
Carroll Bogert of Human Rights Watch worked closely with Hetherington commissioning and disseminating his photos from war-torn regions. Most recently, Hetherington helped photograph secret police files from the Gaddafi documenting the brutality of the regime.
Christina Larson, a contributing editor to Foreign Policy magazine, worked with Hondros closely over the years.
In the latest Global Pulse Episode, host Erin Coker looks at media coverage of the Haiti earthquake. Watch the episode and share your thoughts below!
Does the excessive coverage of Haiti’s earthquake – not to mention the questionable journalistic and medical ethics involved when doctor/reporters can’t decide whether to operate or do interviews — give the viewer a better understanding of the disaster? Or is it little more than the casting of journalists as action heroes?
The New Republic’s Chief Editor, Noam Scheiber, in his recent article taking the news establishment to task, wrote that “in Haiti the dozens of redundant dispatches are stressing an already perilously fragile situation.”
In a follow-up interview with Global Pulse featured in this week’s episode, Scheiber says, “More information is great. But if an airport is being taxed with a volume way above its normal capacity and as a result aid workers, doctors and nurses can’t get in, then I think we have gotten to the point where one good—information—is trumping another good—relief workers…to the detriment of the people we are trying to help.”
The solution, Scheiber thinks, is a so-called “disaster pool.” Comprising a limited number of reporters in country, the disaster pool would share information with news outlets in a similar manner that White House correspondents share “pool reports” with the dozens of journalists unable to attend a briefing. You can download an MP3 of the complete Scheiber interview here.
This might preclude scenes like those we used in this episode, of Anderson Cooper and Katie Couric aiding wounded children, but it may give networks more time for in-depth stories that discuss Haiti’s tumultuous history, the roots of its abject poverty and what day-to-day life was like for the average Haitian pre-earthquake.
Journalist Marc Cooper, characterizing the coverage as “myopic” and “disaster porn”, on his blog, wrote, “It's a totally legit news story for CNN or anyone else [to] zoom in on this or that dramatic and heart-rending rescue of one or another victim trapped in rubble. But every one of those stories is also a stark and rather sickening reminder of how the daily pre-earthquake deaths, starvation and deprivation were considered SO non-newsworthy.”
This reminds me of my own trip to Haiti in the fall of 2008, as part of a disaster response team after a series of hurricanes killed hundreds of people and badly damaged the city of Gonaïves. While the storms made headlines, the fallout apparently wasn’t on a large enough scale to warrant widespread news coverage.
Looking back, what I remember most is the darkness. There is little electricity in Haiti, and the nighttime’s dim storefronts and weak candlelight gave the impression of a city that was a relic of another age.
Will Port-au-Prince once again become a forgotten city? As this article from the Columbia Journalism Review reminds me, there was once, and is likely to be again, only one full-time American journalist in Haiti.
Five years ago when I was working on the documentary Occupied Minds, I got a real taste of what it’s like being a reporter working in a war zone. My crew and I had just finished shooting a segment in the devastated area of Rafah and were heading back to Gaza City, when suddenly, traffic came to a screeching halt.
Two Israeli tanks had blocked off the road while a huge armored Caterpillar bulldozer tore through an orange orchard removing trees and shrubs that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said were being used to provide cover to terrorists. The temperature was over 90 degrees and felt as if it were over 100 degrees in our rented van, which did not have working air conditioning. So, gasping for air, we decided to step outside.
No sooner had we walked a couple of feet outside the van than one of the tanks, without warning, started to fire towards us, literally drawing a line in the sand with bullets just a few feet ahead of us. A bullhorn then ordered us to go back inside the van, which incidentally had the words Press & TV tapped on its side and roof in large red letters. But this did not stop the tank from firing. All I could think that day was what if the machinegun operator had miscalculated? I later learned that our camera man was missing a finger because he had been shot through his camera a year earlier by an Israeli sniper.
This past Friday, Jacky Rowland was reporting from the West Bank village of Bil'in, explaining to viewers about the separation fence and the weekly protests that take place there, when Israeli troops began firing tear gas at the protesters and then directly at her.
The video below shows Rowland, wearing a helmet, exclaiming "We're under attack!" as a tear gas grenade flies past her.
She continues reporting, telling viewers that the Israeli soldiers are "obviously trying to take us off the air."
More on Bil'in.