DATE: 2/08/2005 02:10:00 PM
Deeper than Jordan - In looking for comments by Eason Jordan last week, I came across the News XChange website. The discussion transcripts are an extremely interesting look into the challenges that face modern-day journalism. In addition, they provide insight into what journalists think about their profession and the countries from which they report. While reading a "Tribute to Journalists and Media Workers Killed in Action," I came across a strange quote from Chris Cramer, CNN International's managing director, talking about a chapter from the book "Dying to Tell the Story:"
A contribution from our chairman Nik Gowing about our colleagues caught in the crossfire in the wrong place at the wrong time as a result of screw ups or whatever you choose to ascribe to those particular activities.So I did a little more searching,and came across an open index page on the International News Safety Institute's webpage. In that page, I found a speech by Chris Cramer, where he makes a similar, but more specific, quote:
I want to commend to you the very sad, very traumatic and very important book which INSI has backed from the start.
It's a first of its kind.
A detailed tribute to each and every one of our colleagues who died or went missing.
Important contributions from the freelance community
From the security industry
From Nik Gowing on the worrying trend of journalists who died at the hands of the coalition - in the crossfire - through screw ups - however you want to portray it.In these quotes, he seems to be suggesting quite strongly that maybe it wasn't just 'screw ups' that led to the deaths of journalists at the hands of the coalition. Perhaps it's time to start putting pressure on Cramer to explain exactly what he meant by these little asides. Or maybe it's just me. Comments welcome via email.
UPDATE - I found an edited version of Gowing's contribution to the book that was praised by Cramer. Here is a quote:
There is a growing fear that some governments - especially the most militarily sophisticated like the United States and Israel - are sanctioning the active targeting of journalists in war zones. The evidence is that they want to shut down what we are there to do - to bear witness and report.
The concern is that there is an apparent culture of impunity. This is already encouraging others to believe they can get away with targeting and eliminating journalists, or at least ignoring the issue. More than ever, we are inconvenient eyes and ears who monitor and report what some in power would much prefer we did not.
Media activity in the midst of real-time fighting is now regarded by commanders as having "military significance". If worst case fears are shown to be justified, then on the political and military side some senior officials seem to view our 24-hour/7 days-a-week presence as a real-time military threat that on some occasions justifies our removal by the application of deadly force. Despite expressions of sympathy, the killing or injury of journalists and technicians appears to be of barely marginal concern.This is pretty strong stuff. Does Cramer agree with it, or was he recommending the book and this chapter in particular for other reasons?
UPDATE II - Welcome, Captain's Quarters readers. Feel free to look around.
UPDATE III - Ace notes that I got an Instalanche by proxy. Excellent, and hello to Ace readers.