Committed to the First Amendment
By Staff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 12/2/2001 7:00:00 PM
The other casualties
Journalists suffered their eighth fatality last week covering the war in Afghanistan. Swedish videographer Ulf Stromberg was murdered by armed robbers. He was shot in the chest and died at a local hospital.
On Nov. 19, four journalists were seized and killed while traveling between Jalalabad and Kabul. As identified by their employers and reported by the Committee to Protect Journalists, they were Azizullah Haidari, a photographer for Reuters; Harry Burton, an Australian videographer, also for Reuters; Julio Fuentes, a Spanish correspondent for the Madrid newspaper El Mundo; and Maria Grazia Cutuli, an Italian journalist for the Milan-based Corriere della Sera.
Three journalists were killed Nov. 11 when their Northern Alliance convoy was fired on by Taliban troops: Johanne Sutton, a reporter for Radio France Internationale; Pierre Billaud, a reporter for Radio Television Luxembourg; and Volker Handloik, a free-lance reporter working for Stern.
That list does not include the injured. Andrea Catherwood, of Britain's ITN TV network, for example, suffered shrapnel wounds when a Taliban soldier killed himself and others with a grenade . Her interpreter was injured as well.
And it does not include the missing, like Ken Hechtman, a Canadian free-lance journalist believed to have been kidnapped. There are reports of a ransom note and death threats against him.
To the threats of "being targeted by armed factions, getting caught in the cross fire or stepping on a land mine," said Committee to Protect Journalists Executive Director Ann Cooper of war correspondents, must be added "the dangers posed by anarchy and lawlessness."
Any way you slice it, covering a war, like fighting one, is an extremely dangerous job. Journalists put their lives on the line every day in Afghanistan and scores of other hot spots so that the world gets more than a government-issue detailing of events.
Their sacrifice should be recognized, and honored.
New York state of mind
TVB has shown the way. It is moving its conference from Las Vegas to New York, where, not coincidentally, it is based and where you can get to Madison Avenue in less time than it takes for the announcer to read the boilerplate in a 30-second spot for the local car dealer. And speaking of car dealers, TV is partnering with the New York Auto Show so that members can rub elbows with their biggest advertiser. All this is by way of suggesting that TVB's move to cut costs and take advantage of built-in synergies is a real-world response to new realities and can serve as precedent for others. And by others, we mean the TV syndicators and NATPE.
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