On April 20, 2011, photojournalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were killed whilst working in Misrata, Libya, covering the events of the bloody conflict.
Our industry was devastated to have lost two of our most talented and experienced colleagues. This terrible tragedy highlighted, very publicly, the dangers faced by members of our profession who risk their lives to inform the world of events in the most dangerous situations.
On February 22, 2012, legendary correspondent Marie Colvin and photojournalist Remi Ochlik were killed in Homs, Syria. Evidence from eye witnesses, including London Sunday Times photographer Paul Conroy who was working with Marie, said that they had been deliberately targeted. In this interview with the BBC Paul describes the harrowing events and speaks of his absolute belief that they were singled out and killed.
Paul describes how the interview and live coverage of Marie on CNN the previous evening describing the death of a young child following an attack on civilians had been, he believes, the final straw for the Syrian regime who then took the decision to eliminate the journalists working in the makeshift Press Centre in Homs. Marie discussed with Anderson Cooper why it was important to show the graphic images of the dead boy – that she felt very strongly about it – and this was probably what incensed the Syrians and brought about her own death.
In Libya there were dozens of journalists covering the conflict, today in Syria there is barely a handful, it is just too dangerous and news organizations are less willing or able to offer support. The Sunday Times announced they would not accept photographs from freelance journalists working in Syria as they do not want to encourage anyone to report, as it is too dangerous.
Reporters Without Borders reports that 2012 is deadliest year on record for journalists, with 90 journalists killed, marking a 33% increase in journalists killed in 2012.
Committee to Protect Journalists further reports that since 1992, 971 journalists have been killed, 588 journalists were killed with complete impunity and 172 journalists killed in combat.