Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

What news organizations owe the fixers they rely on, leave behind in foreign countries

by Steve Myers at Poynter Published May 18, 2011 3:23 pm Updated May 18, 2011 4:00 pm

Afghan mourners look at a picture of slain Afghan translator Ajmal Naqshbandi during a gathering to condemn Naqshbandi’s killing in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, April 10, 2007. (Farzana Wahidy/AP)

When four New York Times journalists were released by the Libyan government in March, many journalists knew their names: Stephen Farrell, Anthony Shadid, Lynsey Addario, Tyler Hicks. Fewer could name the person with them who is still missing and may be dead: Mohamed Shaglouf, their driver.

In 2009, British commandos rescued Stephen Farrell from his Taliban captors; his translator was killed and his body left behind. His name: Sultan Munadi. That same year, freelance photojournalists Addario and Teru Kuwayama were hurt and their driver was killed in a car crash in Pakistan. The driver was a well-known “fixer”: Raza Khan.

When the Taliban kidnapped an Italian journalist in 2007, they beheaded his driver, Sayed Agha. The journalist was freed; his translator, Ajmal Naqshbandi, was killed. Jill Carroll’s interpreter was killed when she was abducted in Iraq in 2006. His name: Alan Enwiya.

Their names are unfamiliar because they work in the background, arranging transportation, translating, finding sources, figuring out what’s safe and what’s not. Sometimes these people are journalists themselves, sometimes they just know English and know people.

Even in death, they’re practically nameless, known by what they were doing when they were killed: Farrell’s translator, Addario and Kuwayama’s driver; Carroll’s interpreter.

Please read the entire post at Poynter

May 19, 2011 - Posted by | Journalists, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , ,

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