Articles about "Foreign reporting"


Alan Morison, Chutima Sidasathien

Reuters ‘left the little guys to take the rap,’ editor of Thai publication says

At one point, the relationship between Reuters and the English-language Thai news site Phuketwan was pretty good, Phuketwan Editor Alan Morison said in a phone call with Poynter. Reuters had hired Phuketwan reporter Chutima Sidasathian twice to help with what became a series of reports on the Rohingya, a Muslim minority group from Myanmar. The reports showed, among other things, that Thai authorities delivered Rohingya refugees to human traffickers; the series eventually won a Pulitzer.

Phuketwan, which averages about 9,000 readers a day, has reported on the Rohingya for seven years, Morison said, so “it was natural for Reuters to call me and get a briefing from me” when Stuart Grudgings and Jason Szep began reporting the series. Phuketwan even quoted a 41-word paragraph from a Reuters special report on the Rohingya (it’s not a Reuters client but wanted to point readers to Reuters’ reporting, Morison said). And not long after that, things went south.

Morison and Chutima outside Phuket provincial courtroom in April. (AP Photo/Krissada Muanhawong)

In December Phuket police summoned Morison and Chutima in response to a claim by the Royal Thai Navy that the Reuters material violated the country’s Computer Crimes Act and defamed the Navy. They were later charged. (While one of Reuters’ reports said Thai naval forces can earn money for handing Rohingya over to human traffickers, the material Phuketwan quoted did not mention the navy. The Thai translation the navy provided to the court, however, mentioned the navy three times, Morison said.)

Morison and Chutima “spent time in the cells beneath the Phuket provincial court as part of our bail application,” Morison said; they each face up to seven years in prison and a fine. As a director of Phuketwan as well as a coauthor on the story, Morison faces up to 14 years. Read more

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Swedish journalist killed in Kabul

Reuters | The Washington Post

Swedish Radio correspondent Nils Horner was shot dead outside a restaurant in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Katharine Houreld reports:

Horner had been waiting outside a Lebanese restaurant with his driver and translator when two men in Western clothes approached and one shot him at point-blank range in the back of the head, said Zubir, a guard at the restaurant who uses only one name.

Horner “had only recently arrived in Kabul,” Kevin Sieff reports.

He was “a legend,” said Swedish journalist Terese Cristiansson, “one of the best we have ever had.”

The flag at Swedish Radio is at half-mast:

This past weekend, Omar Abdul Qader, a cameraman for the Beirut TV station Al-Mayadeen, was killed in Deir al-Zor, Syria. Canadian photojournalist Ali Moustafa was killed in Aleppo on Sunday. The Toronto Star has a slideshow of his recent work. Read more

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Pro-Russian soldiers block naval base in Novoozerne, Ukraine, on March 3.  (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Al Jazeera America reporters in Crimea are telling ‘a story of contrasts’

Jennifer Glasse in Kiev. (Submitted photo)

One morning this past January, Al Jazeera America reporter Jennifer Glasse walked to work through the underground mall connected with her hotel in Kiev. She saw Ukrainians on their way to work “crossing paths with exhausted men coming back from the burning barricades they’d manned all night in a standoff with police.”

Reporting in Ukraine, she told Poynter in an e-mail, has been “a story of contrasts.”

Independence Square often felt like a street party, or music festival, with people eating, and socializing. Couples got engaged on the barricades, people became friends. They’d shout “Slava Ukraina!” “Glory to Ukraine” and get the response “Slave Geroi,” “Glory to the Heroes.” For a while at the top of every hour they’d sing the national anthem – often so loudly in the middle of the night, that my liveshots sounded like I had an opera singer in the room with me. Then came the terrible violence that killed dozens, left the Trade Union building, where I’d been to get a daily press pass or meet an interviewee, a charred ruins. And Independence Square became a pilgrimage site. Glory to the heroes, they’ll never be forgotten was spelled out in candles yards from where people were killed. When I left Kiev last week, Independence Square was a somber place.

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APTOPIX Turkey Protest

Turkish journalist hit by water cannons explains story behind startling photo

Television journalist Husna Sari of Ulusal TV in Turkey was covering what she tells me was a peaceful demonstration in Ankara last Thursday when police opened fire on her with water cannons. The stark images of her being blasted off her feet quickly spread globally online.

I reached her by phone and after a quick conversation she agreed to answer my questions about the incident by email, which Poynter Online had translated from Turkish to English.

Husna said she had no doubt they knew she was a journalist. And how could they not have known? She was clearly visible to them, and then, there was the microphone. She was holding a large logo’ed microphone. “You can see what a person holds in his/her hand, when you are in a very close distance, right? I was holding a microphone. And I was showing it to the police on purpose, to show that I was a journalist. At that moment, I was trying to explain to our audience what was happening down there.” Read more

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White House ‘very disappointed’ NYT reporter was forced to leave China

The Weekly Standard

In a statement Thursday, the White House said it was “very disappointed that New York Times reporter Austin Ramzy was forced to leave China today because of processing delays for his press credentials.” Ramzy is a China correspondent for the Times. The Chinese government forced him to leave the country this week, saying he had “violated Chinese regulations last year by continuing to travel to and from the country using the journalist visa he was issued before he left his previous employer, Time magazine,” Andrew Jacobs reported in the Times.

 

The White House’s statement continues: Read more

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Deaths at TV station underscore danger to journalists in Iraq

Al Jazeera | The New York Times

The deaths of five people following an assault on an Iraqi television station in Tikrit on Monday have raised fears that militants are escalating their attacks on journalists in the midst of the country’s ongoing violence.

Al Jazeera, citing officials, reported the dead included the station’s “chief news editor, a copy editor, a producer, a presenter and the archives manager.” Read more

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A Singapore news site, Breakfast Network, closed down after the Singaporean government required that it meet numerous rules which site supporters say are designed to control the press. (Poynter photo)

Singaporean government bureaucracy effectively closes news site

I am in Singapore at the moment, by chance witnessing the death and dismemberment of a popular online news outlet.

I have seen scant outside coverage of this rather strange, censorious saga, so I’m writing a tiny bit about it in hopes of helping spread the word. Actually, I want to help spread two words: Kitchen Closed.

That is the announcement now plastered boldly across the homepage of what used to be known as Breakfast Network.

World of Shadows

Journalism is a tricky pursuit in Singapore. As a Fulbright researcher and visiting journalism professor here a few years back, I saw firsthand the city-state’s paradoxical existence, acting according to one researcher as both “a regional media center and a site of media repression.”

In respect to the latter, a journalism educator here once described the reporting roadblocks to me as a “world of shadows.” It is part of what many Singaporean student and professional journalists refer to loosely as legal, political and economic forces in the country with the authority to control or punish individuals who criticize the powers-that-be, upend the status quo or cause controversies of any kind.

Some of these shadows are real and others undoubtedly imagined. But either way, they lead to what Singaporeans call OB (out-of-bounds) markers – limits on how much to rant, how far to dig, how boldly to challenge, how deeply to report.

It was in this world that veteran Singaporean journalist Bertha Henson launched Breakfast Network, less than a year after leaving her high-level editor job at The Straits Times, Singapore’s leading daily newspaper. BN began in February 2013 as a media criticism blog, a digital home for Henson’s musings on what impressed, amused and dismayed her within the Singapore press scene she had long toiled within.

It grew over time into a more wide-ranging news and views site, featuring the perspectives and original reporting of other Singaporeans. These included Henson’s students at the National University of Singapore (NUS), where she serves as a journalist-in-residence.

Along with an increase in contributors (one paid full-time staffer and the rest “citizen volunteers”), Breakfast Network enjoyed a rapid uptick in web traffic and general buzz. Henson even decided to start a related company, Breakfast Network Pte Ltd (BNPL).

As she explained in a post on Yahoo! News Singapore that originally appeared on Breakfast Network:

“The site was set up because there were like-minded individuals who wanted to report and write and we thought, what the heck, why not set up something cheap? … What we didn’t reckon on was that the site would gain fans so quickly, so much so we had to keep buying more server space. And despite being a pro bono site, there were readers who wanted more and more. So, I thought why not do the site ‘properly,’ set up a legal entity to do business and pay for a more-or-less proper newsroom operation?”

Soon after, the Singapore government stepped in.

A Thicket of Rules

Late last month, officials informed Henson that Breakfast Network must register with the country’s Media Development Authority (MDA). Henson described the accompanying regulations as “a thicket of rules.” She also found the registration forms onerous, containing vague or downright indecipherable declarations.

The registration process called for the disclosure of the names and personal details of BN editors and overseers (“person(s) responsible for and/or involved in the provision, management and/or operation of the website”). The MDA subsequently requires regular updates on “changes in transactions and editorial content or staffing,” which Henson saw mostly as extra hassles and time away from fulfilling the BN’s mission of being “an experiment in forms of journalism.”

By registering, Breakfast Network would also have to comply with a national law forbidding media companies from accepting funding from certain foreign sources. While straightforward advertising from reputable businesses is apparently OK, almost any other type of outside investment is prohibited. Bottom line, the Singapore government – which Henson playfully calls the G – wants its media entities to remain locally owned.

While she joked “we never did figure on getting a … Russian oligarch or the CIA to dump money into BN,” she did have real concerns about these upfront funding limitations – given how tough it is for online news start-ups to make money and find sponsors.

As she pondered whether to sign the forms or cease operations, she shook her fist at the irony that – under Singapore regulations – Breakfast Network may have actually been better off producing crappier, less transparent journalism.

“Perhaps, we should have gone guerilla, underground, use some server from abroad and all sorts of pseudonyms to confuse everyone about who are the people really behind the site,” she wrote in late November after she received the MDA registration notice. “Then we could allow all sorts of people to post comments, do plenty of drumming and escalate the number of eyeballs. No need to worry about making money to cover cost and to hire good people to raise the quality of content.”

Ultimately, given the “thicket of rules” and the amount and personal nature of the requested information, she wanted more time to fully understand the implications of registering. According to Henson, the MDA required her consent and the completed forms in two weeks. Henson and her Breakfast Network team asked for a month’s extension.

The MDA’s reply: Nope. We’ll give you an extra week, that’s it. Henson fumed, deciding instead to close the kitchen and shut down Breakfast Network.

That’s the death. Here’s the dismemberment.

Cry Father, Cry Mother

With the site shuttered, Henson told readers content would now appear on the Breakfast Network Facebook page.

The MDA’s reply: Nope. That would be an end-run around the country’s media laws. As the MDA sees it, if Breakfast Network exists in any form, on any platform, it still must be registered and abide by the related requirements.

To steal Henson’s description, this is where the story gets “stranger and stranger or curiouser and curiouser.” You see, right now, the BN Facebook page remains online and active, ostensibly against the law. But Henson is not running it. She says she has quit Breakfast Network and is closing down the affiliated company. So it is simply some volunteers overseeing a social media account that happens to be called Breakfast Network. Must it still choose to either shut down or register for approval with the Singapore government?

Henson wrote about all this several days ago on her personal blog in a rant post she admits is a full-blown KPKB. The term ‘kow peh kow bu’ – a coarse colloquialism in Hokkien dialect – translates in English to ‘cry father, cry mother.’ Informally, it equates to a diatribe against people who you feel are making no sense.

Her KPKB is headlined “Why is MDA making a meal out of BN?” As she asks, “What the (insert your choice swear word here) is MDA up to? Why me? Why BN? Isn’t it enough that we write responsible stuff? With bylines and all? We even correct mistakes openly!!! … We just don’t want to sign your papers!”

So did the government single out Henson and Breakfast Network because it did not like the content or tone of the site? Hard to say, but Henson wrote that among her first thoughts upon receiving the MDA’s registration letter were the following questions: “Did we do something wrong? Which article pissed off who in the G? And, yes, was this a way of saying that Big Brother is watching?”

Media Destruction Authority

Longtime Singaporean journalist and journalism educator Cherian George is one of the country’s leading digital media researchers and media critics. Among other works, he is the author of the 2012 book “Freedom From The Press: Journalism and State Power in Singapore.” (Disclosure: George and I worked together briefly at Nanyang Technological University during the time I spent in Singapore as a Fulbright researcher and visiting professor.)

George believes the MDA’s targeting of Breakfast Network rises to a level of government interference not seen before in the history of the Internet in Singapore.

As he argued on his blog, “For all the thunderclouds and occasional lightning strikes that bloggers faced in Singapore, we at least used to be able to point to one, clear silver lining: Not one political site had been banned in 17 years of ‘light touch’ Internet regulation. Today … that silver lining is officially history. Through the government’s clumsy handling of one site that didn’t even pose a serious threat, Singapore has now stumbled into the company of authoritarian regimes that are prepared to outlaw politically inconvenient blogs. … Blogs [previously] could be punished if what they published broke the law – but they were never expected to persuade regulators that they deserved the right to publish before they were allowed to do so.”

Kinmun Lee, who runs the popular Singaporean blog mrbrown.comsimilarly stated with his customary snarky aplomb, “I think the MDA should change their name to Media Destruction Authority. I don’t see any development here, just shackles and rules designed to ensure only the ‘right’ kind of content (the kind The G approves of) get seen.”

The MDA asserts it is in no way going after content. As officials shared in a public statement earlier this month, “MDA would like to reiterate that the content is not the issue. Rather, it is the mode of operation, i.e. via a corporate entity which means there is greater possibility for foreign influence. … MDA’s registration requirement seeks to uphold the principle that politics must remain a matter for Singapore and Singaporeans alone. This principle is not new and it has been a long standing one. There is no departure from our Internet regulatory framework.”

Critics counter that this framework – and the new burdensome registration process embedded within it – has the potential to act as a broader-based scheme to shut down critics.

According to Braema Mathi, the president of the Singaporean human rights organization Maruah (which translates to ‘dignity’ in Malay), “The closure of Breakfast Network’s website demonstrates that regardless of MDA’s stated intent, the registration requirement has chilled and reduced the space for free expression in Singapore. As a regulator tasked with developing the media landscape in Singapore, MDA should consider the substantive impact of its decisions, not just its own subjective intent. Registration requirements can operate to censor free expression as effectively as, and more insidiously than, outright demands to remove content.”

Henson agrees, arguing for an additional reconsideration of how such demands fit in with the changing online universe. “I think the G should think a bit harder about imposing regulations on this new environment that is called the Internet,” she wrote in her goodbye Breakfast post. “Because some people believe it should remain un-regulated; some think that conceding to one piece of regulation is a slippery slope that will push online views into a shape resembling the mainstream media. And that is not what people who report and write online sign up to be.”

The Singapore Way
Earlier this month, hours before my flight arrived in Singapore, a riot erupted in an area of the country known as Little India after the accidental death of an Indian national. The subsequent clash between a crowd of 400 mostly low-paid foreign workers and 300 local law enforcement officers resulted in vehicles set on fire, flipped police cars, arrests, deportations and injured police. In a country iconic and infamous for its public control and low crime rate, it was a genuinely historic event, the most violent incident in Singapore in more than four decades.

In its immediate aftermath, Henson reflected on the riot for Breakfast Network. As she asked at the start of her piece, “What did we wake up to this morning? What lies ahead? Everything has changed now. … It is a shock to the Singapore system, to think that something so ‘foreign’ could happen here. But it did, and we should start to think harder about the ‘Singapore way.’”

A day later, she closed the kitchen. Read more

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Occupy Oakland

Journalists under attack: Pros offer safety advice

Look at this page on the Committee to Protect Journalists’ website and feel a pain in your gut. The site documents the 45 journalists who have been killed on the job worldwide this year. Most were covering human rights, politics and/or crime when they died.

If you think the only journalists who face danger on the job are those working in Syria or Egypt, you’re wrong. Last week, WDAZ reporter Adam Ladwig was attacked by three people while covering a fire. Last month, a woman attacked a WUSA9 crew. A CBS2/KCAL9 reporter and photojournalist were attacked while covering the Zimmerman verdict protests in July. In August, Poynter.org told you about the San Francisco area attacks on news crews. In a six-week period, thieves attacked journalists six times, targeting cameras, computers and tripods and taking gear at gunpoint in at least one case. In 2011, journalists across the country said they were attacked by both crowds and police while covering the “Occupy” protests.

I turned to seasoned reporters and photojournalists and to the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma for advice on how to stay safe and still get your job done. (Their answers have been edited for clarity and length.)

I asked my questions of:

What advice do you have about how to stay safe and still get the job done?

French

Lynn French, KPNX-TV Phoenix: Even though it feels a little “Mother may I?”, I always let the assignment desk or someone in my department know where I am going and when I should be back. It sounds simple, but journalists are independent by nature and have to fight the urge to just run out the door and hope for the best. No matter where I am going, I have my phone on me and location services turned on so if worst came to worst the newsroom could track my phone for evidence. If I am going into a tense situation, especially a door knock, I will call someone at the station to stay on the phone with me and I will tuck my phone somewhere where they can hear me (Arizona is a one-party state). And they know the exact address I am at so if things turn bad they can call the police and I can concentrate on getting to safety.

Shapiro

Bruce Shapiro, Dart Center for Trauma & Journalism: Even local journalists need to be aware of a potentially hostile environment, and pay attention both to the vulnerabilities we share with other citizens and the special risks which may be involved in our work. Anyone should worry, for instance, about being alone on a dark street. On the other hand, a journalist may also need to worry about being mistaken for law enforcement or some other unwanted presence, may be knocking on doors or taking photos in a community that has felt badly treated by media in the past, or may be displaying technology that makes us a target.

Adkins

Richard Adkins, WRAL-TV Raleigh: Knowledge is more than power — knowledge is armor. Know your surroundings and your way around. In the rush to the scene of  breaking news, pay attention to how you got there. What was the road/intersection where you parked your vehicle? Remember the street names. If you need to call 911 on your cell, could you give your exact location? I’m amazed at how often a reporter turns to me and asks, “Where are we?” If I’m working with a reporter at an active scene, the first thing I do is give the reporter my wireless microphone and turn it on — that way while I’m shooting video I can keep track of the reporter, who may go knocking on doors or talking with gathering crowds. This not only helps with safety, but also lets me come running if the reporter finds a great interview.

Pitts

Byron Pitts, ABC News: Pack the best first-aid kit possible. Get certified in basic first aid and CPR. I always carry a bandana, flashlights, local map and contact numbers. I also have a get-out-of jail card — either a note or phone number from the most important person in that part of the world I know. A colleague asked me once, “How much blood are you bringing?” There are places in the world where that is a legitimate question. Read, read, read. And always pray, pray, pray. But at the end of the day none of that may be enough — sometimes the best reporting is not going and telling the story another way.

What are the key things to never do and always do?

French: The No. 1 thing to never do is play the “Don’t you know who I am?” card. I have watched reporters do this time and time again in heated situations and not once has the other party stepped back and said, “Oh, I love your newscast, by all means proceed.” The desperation behind their motives is far greater than the stature you believe your organization has in the community. Something I learned from wildfire training is to always have an escape route. I try to stay close to my vehicle or have a place to flee to where someone can call for help. I am always looking for security cameras on buildings and ATMs, so that if something is going to happen, at least it is caught on someone else’s camera. And even though it is a competitive environment, when it comes to some situations there’s safety in numbers.

Pitts: The “ugly American” thing never works. Be kind. Be kind. Be kind to all you meet.

Adkins: Probably the most important advice I can give is for people to speak up. Don’t be afraid to tell the assignment desk when you have concerns for your safety — especially if you are working alone. The desk may give you an address that’s just a street with numbers to them, but you may know it’s an area with issues. Speak up — tell them that’s not a safe area. In the field, get out if you feel threatened — don’t wait for the situation to escalate. Always have an escape plan.

French: I just try to stay calm and aware, which is much tougher to do than it sounds. If someone asks why I’m there shooting video — especially if they have an edge of contention about them — I’m honest but don’t give any details other than the headline of the story. A little perceived ignorance can go a long way toward keeping the situation calm. If someone prods for more details on the story and it’s not apparent how they are attached to it, I’m apt to shrug my shoulders and say, “I was just told to get some shots of this building, I think it’s for tonight’s newscast. Do you know what goes on here that might help me understand why I’m here?” If someone asks me how much my gear is worth, again I play ignorant: “This stuff? It’s pretty old. It’s like cars — the value decreases really fast. We’re really the last ones using this old format.”

If you are working alone, does that change things?

Adkins: I often work alone. A while back I was shooting video along Oregon Inlet. I stepped wrong and one leg went into a hole up to my waist while the other leg went 90 degrees out to my left, a gymnastic move I had never practiced. I was stuck, couldn’t free myself and could feel blood running down my leg. Luckily a couple of guys fishing nearby saw me and came to help. While I was being stitched up at the local Urgent Care, I knew that from now on someone needed to keep tabs on me while I was out. The assignment desk is too busy, so we enabled my phone for my wife to keep up with me via GPS. I also text her where I am and where I’m going. If too long passes without her hearing from me she will call and check on me.

French: Working alone absolutely changes things. Other than your camera, there are no witnesses who have your back. When I am working alone, I roll tape on every interaction and whenever my Spidey sense tingles. While nothing may come of the interaction in the moment, it has helped me prove my conduct was proper when someone has called the news director after the fact to say I was trespassing or being unprofessional. If a situation feels bad, I trust my gut and treat it as a dangerous situation. That may include not advancing into the scene as fast as I normally would, calling the desk to alert them that my safety is in question, or finding an alternative way to cover the story.

What do you wish your reporter/photojournalist partner would or would not do to lower the temperature out there?

Pitts: My checklist: Get the latest security intel from the government, local law enforcement, private security and any reliable source on the ground. Make sure I’m aware of local customs, weapon systems and the proper threat assessment. What’s the biggest threat: kidnapping, murder, violence, intimidation, robbery? I make sure I pack the proper clothes to fit in or not fit in. I make sure I’m in the best physical shape I can possibly be in. In many parts of the world size matters — if you look like someone not to be fooled with people will usually leave you alone. Have an exit strategy. I usually travel with a team, and here are the rules: Let someone in the home office know your schedule, then stay on schedule. We travel most often in daylight. We know in advance (as best we can) who must get paid on the trip — local drivers, interpreters, etc. Avoid negotiating prices on the ground and never flash money. We make all safety decisions as a group, and unanimous votes are the only ones that count. If anyone votes to stop, we stop — no questions asked.

Adkins: Door knocks are one of the most difficult things we do and most of us don’t want to be there. Recently I was with a reporter on a door knock, and when we got back to the car he turned to me and thanked me for being beside him on the stoop. He said, “You’re the only photog I work with that gets out of the car on these things.” I told him it’s a safety-in-numbers thing so I always go to the door with the reporter. Some reporters like to sit in the car while I may be out shooting B-roll. In some situations, I’ll ask them to get out of the car with me. Again, safety in numbers — and while my eye is glued to the viewfinder, their eyes can be open to our surroundings.

French: Read the situation and consider how the camera will change the dynamic. Cameras are a lot like alcohol, they intensify people’s personalities and intentions. If people are happy, they become happier around the camera; if they are angry, they become angrier at the camera and the person using it. Everyone is trying to hit a deadline, but remembering the people we are covering have to live with a situation long after our deadline has passed will hopefully help us be more respectful of the emotional temperature. Finally, keep an eye on each other and help if needed. Yes, we are competitors but at the end of the day our goal is the same.

Do newsrooms train journalists to handle this sort of thing? What would such training include?

Shapiro: No — and they should. Assessing threats and staying safe — whether that means being smart about physical threats, understanding basic cybersecurity, being able to deliver routine first aid, or basic awareness of psychological trauma — is part of the training news organizations should provide. This isn’t just something for correspondents covering exotic conflicts. Even local journalists may contend with mass shootings, disasters, civil unrest, or simply dangerous streets, disturbed individuals, traumatic assignments or the risk of mugging, sexual assault or being targeted because of our work. It’s an occupational health risk, just like repetitive strain injury. If a news company would invest in ergonomic chairs, why not invest in a safety briefing, first-aid course or trauma-awareness session?

Pitts: The first time I went to Afghanistan for CBS News, Dan Rather called me into his office. “Here are the rules of the road,” he said. “Don’t eat the meat, don’t drink the water and never look at the women.” He was smiling when he said it. And then he turned serious: “Who are the people you love most in the world? Think about it. Go back to your office and write each of them a letter. Seal the letters and leave them with me if you like. Because when you go someplace like Afghanistan, you might not come home.” Then he just sat there and let the idea sink in. Finally he added: “If you can accept that reality, then go with God. If not, we will send someone else.” Period. End of discussion. I share that story only to say this: In our business and in these times there are no guarantees. Read more

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Journalists killed, beaten, arrested in Egypt violence

Sky News | The Huffington Post

Sky News photographer Mick Deane was killed in Egypt Wednesday, the news organization announced. Security forces Wednesday stormed camps in Cairo that were occupied by people protesting the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi.

In the story, Tim Marshall, Sky News’ foreign affairs editor, describes Deane as “a friend, brave as a lion but what a heart… what a human being.”

Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz, a reporter for the United Arab Emirates paper XPress, was also killed, Jack Mirkinson reports. And Reuters photographer Asmaa Waguih was reportedly shot and taken to the hospital. Read more

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NBC’s Richard Engel describes being kidnapped in Syria:

A group of about 15 armed men were fanning out around us. Three or four of them stood in the middle of the road blocking our vehicles. The others went for the doors. They wore black jackets, black boots, and black ski masks. They were professionals and used hand signals to communicate. A balled fist meant stop. A pointed finger meant advance. Each man carried an AK-47. Several of the gunmen began hitting the windows of our car and minivan with the stocks of their weapons. When they got the doors open, they leveled their guns at our chests.

Time was slowing down as if I’d been hit in the head. Time was slowing down as if I were drowning.

This can’t be happening. I know what this is. This can’t be happening. These are the shabiha. They’re fucking kidnapping us. …
(more…)

NBC correspondent Richard Engel, writing for Vanity Fair

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