Not all heroes wear capes or carry big guns

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Not all heroes wear capes or carry big guns

Oleksandra Kuvshynova and Pierre Zakrzewski. (FoxNews)

Wars are among the most heinous and cruel events that we follow on a daily basis, influenced by the parties involved and then forming our opinion on them. Here emerges the important role of war correspondents who relay the details of what is happening on the battlefield to the world. These brave professionals tell us the brutal stories they witnessed and paint a clear picture of the destruction and bloodshed on the ground.
Indeed, journalism is one of the most dangerous professions to practice, especially when covering armed conflicts. War reporters have become unarmed soldiers who take part in battles with their pens and cameras, risking their lives to obtain information to convey the facts of the heart of the battle through various global media, including social media platforms. social media.
During World War II and Vietnam, American journalists were embedded with American troops, wearing military uniforms and having instant access to medical care if needed. This process continued in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and will continue in future conflicts in well-defined combat zones.
It should be noted that the 1949 Geneva Conventions stipulate that journalists captured while accompanying an army are entitled to the same protections as soldiers and are de facto prisoners of war.
However, this practice is much safer than covering unconventional conflict and urban warfare, where reporters typically do their work independently or with small teams led by local producers or fixers.
Today, with the development of technology and the possibility of using smartphones for direct communication, and the significant reduction in the size of cameras and photographic equipment, curious journalists can reach the point closest to the place of an important event and sometimes be part of it. . I still remember small details of several war zone incidents I have witnessed over the past 32 years.
I have learned from my experience covering the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and traveling to several cities attacked by radical Islamist groups that war correspondents attach themselves to the victims of the atrocities of the enemy, whoever that is. The longer reporters stay in conflict zones, the more personal humanitarian events become.
It has not yet been a month since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and we have lost several journalists trying to report the facts and shed light on the humanitarian situation of millions of Ukrainians. Families have fled the brutal Russian offensive to protect their children and loved ones and have taken refuge in neighboring countries or in somewhat safer areas of Ukraine.
On March 13, award-winning American filmmaker and journalist Brent Renaud was killed in a suburb of Ukraine’s capital, kyiv, while his colleague Juan Arredondo was shot and rushed to hospital. Arredondo said he and Renaud were shot in a car after leaving a checkpoint on their way to film civilians fleeing targeted neighborhoods and towns.
Days later, Ukrainian producer and fixer Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova, 24, and Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski, 55, were killed in the village of Gorenka, outside Kyiv. They were working alongside Fox News’ US State Department correspondent Benjamin Hall, who was rushed to the nearest hospital for treatment of his injuries. According to a statement released by the network, the three-person team was hit by artillery fire from Russian troops in the village.
France’s anti-terrorism court, which specializes in cases of crimes against humanity, said an investigation had been opened in France into a possible war crime after the death of Zakrzewski, a Franco-Irish journalist. The investigation could be carried out given the journalist’s French nationality, into a “deliberate attack on the life of a person protected by international law” and a “deliberate attack on a civilian who was not directly participating in the hostilities”, according to a statement issued by the court.
Last week, the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, underlined the essential role of the war correspondent in reflecting reality. “Journalists have a vital role to play in providing information during conflict and must never be targeted,” she said, calling for respect for international humanitarian standards to ensure the protection of journalists and journalists. media professionals.

Sometimes a camera accompanied by bravery, determination and passion is more powerful.

Dalia Al-Aqidi

One might wonder why these journalists expose themselves to dangerous and sometimes deadly circumstances?
Well, here’s the deal: the majority of war correspondents feel responsible for witnessing human suffering and giving voice to civilians by reporting what’s happening in real time, in hopes of making a difference. .
The world is not getting any safer for journalists trying to report on these dangerous conflicts. The ultimate sacrifices to reveal the truth remind us of the risks that war journalists are never afraid to take.
Not all heroes wear capes or carry big guns; sometimes a camera accompanied by bravery, determination and passion is more powerful.
To all journalists, hats off (hats off).

  • Dalia Al-Aqidi is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy. Twitter: @DaliaAlAqidi

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the authors in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arab News

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