Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Japanese Journalist, War Correspondent, Killed in Syrian Violence

VOA  August 21, 2012

Japan’s Foreign Ministry says a Japanese journalist has died in Syria after being caught in gunfire while traveling with the rebel Free Syrian Army.

The ministry said Tuesday that 45-year-old Mika Yamamoto was shot in the northern city of Aleppo. She worked for the Tokyo-based Japan Press, where she previously covered wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Fighting continues across Syria, where opposition activists say the violence killed at least 140 people Monday. The Local Coordination Committees says more deadly violence hit Damascus, Homs and Daraa on Tuesday.

August 21, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Casualties, Journalists | , , , , | Leave a comment

Anthony Shadid, Reporter in the Middle East, Dies at 43

New York Times  February 16. 2012

Anthony Shadid, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent who died on Thursday at 43, had long been passionately interested in the Middle East, first because of his Lebanese-American heritage and later because of what he saw there firsthand.

Mr. Shadid spent most of his professional life covering the region, as a reporter first with The Associated Press; then The Boston Globe; then with The Washington Post, for which he won Pulitzer Prizes in 2004 and 2010; and afterward with The New York Times. At his death, from what appeared to be an asthma attack, he was on assignment for The Times in Syria.

Mr. Shadid’s hiring by The Times at the end of 2009 was widely considered a coup for the newspaper, for he had been esteemed throughout his career as an intrepid reporter, a keen observer, an insightful analyst and a lyrical stylist. Much of his work centered on ordinary people who had been forced to pay an extraordinary price for living in the region — or belonging to the religion, ethnic group or social class — that they did.

He was known most recently to Times readers for his clear-eyed coverage of the Arab Spring. For his reporting on that sea change sweeping the region — which included dispatches from Lebanon and Egypt — The Times nominated him, along with a team of his colleagues, for the 2012 Pulitzer in international reporting. (The awards are announced in April.)

In its citation accompanying the nomination, The Times wrote:

“Steeped in Arab political history but also in its culture, Shadid recognized early on that along with the despots, old habits of fear, passivity and despair were being toppled. He brought a poet’s voice, a deep empathy for the ordinary person and an unmatched authority to his passionate dispatches.”

Please read more about Anthony Shadid here

February 17, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Journalists | , , , | Leave a comment

BBC reporter killed in Afghanistan suicide attack

Associated Press

LONDON—The BBC says one of its reporters has died in an insurgent attack in Afghanistan that killed at least 17 people.

The broadcaster says that Ahmad Omid Khpolwak was killed in Thursday’s suicide attack in the southern Uruzgan province.

Afghan authorities said the attack left at least 17 people dead.

Please see the original here

BBC says the stringer was 25 years old and joined the network in 2008.

Three suicide bombers blew up vehicles packed with explosives in three almost simultaneous attacks in Uruzgan. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the assaults.

July 28, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Journalists | , , , , , | Leave a comment

NATO tramples American’s rights

Embedded Reporter Booted on Bogus Charges

by Wayne M Anderson The Washington Times

NATO has stated that the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court rulings are “not relevant” civil rights protections for American reporters in Afghanistan and expelling journalists from the war without a meaningful hearing is “valid.”

Furthermore, due process is an “undue distraction from the mission,” and giving defendants a fair hearing is too “exhaustive,” according to NATO. This exhaustion is evident in the fact that the war in Afghanistan has been dragging on for 10 years.

These startling findings are found in a newly released opinion issued from NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE).

U.S. Army Col. Gregory Julian, chief of public affairs for SHAPE and Allied Command Operations, together with his team of legal officers, said they looked at the letter and principles of the Constitution and court rulings “thoroughly” and foundnone of it relevant in the expulsion case of a Washington Times correspondent – the last-known reporter kicked out of Afghanistan.

The administrative ruling has profound consequences for reporters risking their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq. Whenever an international body declares the power to disregard basic democratic safeguards for reporters, it has a chilling effect on objective news reporting. Fear is a powerful tool.

Please read the entire story here

February 21, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Journalists, NATO | , , , | Leave a comment

Female Foreign Correspondents’ Code of Silence, Finally Broken

This piece was co-published in the New York Times as Why we need Woman in War Zones

By Kim Barker at ProPublica

Thousands of men blocked the road, surrounding the S.U.V. of the chief justice of Pakistan, a national hero for standing up to military rule. As a correspondent for The Chicago Tribune, I knew I couldn’t just watch from behind a car window. I had to get out there.

So, wearing a black headscarf and a loose, long-sleeved red tunic over jeans, I waded through the crowd and started taking notes: on the men throwing rose petals, on the men shouting that they would die for the chief justice, on the men sacrificing a goat.

And then, almost predictably, someone grabbed my buttocks. I spun around and shouted, but then it happened again, and again, until finally I caught one offender’s hand and punched him in the face. The men kept grabbing. I kept punching. At a certain point — maybe because I was creating a scene — I was invited into the chief justice’s vehicle.

At the time, in June 2007, I saw this as just one of the realities of covering the news in Pakistan. I didn’t complain to my bosses. To do so would only make me seem weak. Instead, I made a joke out of it and turned the experience into a positive one: See, being a woman helped me gain access to the chief justice.

And really, I was lucky. A few gropes, a misplaced hand, an unwanted advance — those are easily dismissed. I knew other female correspondents who weren’t so lucky, those who were molested in their hotel rooms, or partly stripped by mobs. But I can’t ever remember sitting down with my female peers and talking about what had happened, except to make dark jokes, because such stories would make us seem different from the male correspondents, more vulnerable. I would never tell my bosses for fear that they might keep me at home the next time something major happened.

I was hardly alone in keeping quiet. The Committee to Protect Journalists may be able to say that 44 journalists from around the world [2] were killed last year because of their work, but the group doesn’t keep data [3] on sexual assault and rape. Most journalists just don’t report it.

The CBS correspondent Lara Logan has broken that code of silence. She has covered some of the most dangerous stories in the world, and done a lot of brave things in her career. But her decision to go public earlier this week with her attack by a mob in Tahrir Square in Cairo was by far the bravest. Hospitalized for days, she is still recuperating from the attack, described by CBS as a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating.

Several commentators have suggested [4] that Ms. Logan was somehow at fault: because she’s pretty; because she decided to go into the crowd; because she’s a war junkie. This wasn’t her fault. It was the mob’s fault. This attack also had nothing to do with Islam. Sexual violence has always been a tool of war. Female reporters sometimes are just convenient.

In the coming weeks, I fear that the conclusions drawn from Ms. Logan’s experience will be less reactionary but somehow darker, that there will be suggestions that female correspondents should not be sent into dangerous situations. It’s possible that bosses will make unconscious decisions to send men instead, just in case. Sure, men can be victims, too — on Wednesday a mob beat up a male ABC reporter in Bahrain [5], and a few male journalists have told of being sodomized by captors — but the publicity around Ms. Logan’s attack could make editors think, “Why take the risk?” That would be the wrong lesson. Women can cover the fighting just as well as men, depending on their courage.

More important, they also do a pretty good job of covering what it’s like to live in a war, not just die in one. Without female correspondents in war zones, the experiences of women there may be only a rumor.

Look at the articles about women who set themselves on fire in Afghanistan to protest their arranged marriages, or about girls being maimed by fundamentalists, about child marriage in India, about rape in Congo and Haiti. Female journalists often tell those stories in the most compelling ways, because abused women are sometimes more comfortable talking to them. And those stories are at least as important as accounts of battles.

There is an added benefit. Ms. Logan is a minor celebrity, one of the highest-profile women to acknowledge being sexually assaulted. Although she has reported from the front lines, the lesson she is now giving young women is probably her most profound: It’s not your fault. And there’s no shame in telling it like it is.

Please see the original at ProPublica

February 19, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Africa, Iraq, Journalists, Pakistan, Rape, Safety and Security Issues, Sexual Assault | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 399 other followers