The French Connection

There is a serious dispute over the death of Gilles Jacquier, of France-2 Television, the first Western journalist killed in Syria during the current conflict. The Huffington Post reports that two journalists who were with Jacquier the day he died, Jan. 11, 2012, don’t believe the government story that rebels killed Jacquier. Other doubters include the French government and human rights groups. An investigative piece on the matter has aired on French TV.
Patrick Vallelian of the weekly L’Hebdo and Sid Ahmed Hammouche of the daily La Liberte newspaper, said they believed the attack was part of an elaborate trap set up by Syrian authorities.
“It felt like it was all planned in advance,” Vallelian told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/22/gilles-jacquier-dead-syrian-authorities_n_1221906.html

Syrian Death Toll

Marie Colvin

Marie Colvin

Things have gotten so bad for journalists in Syria that The Sunday Times of London is refusing to accept freelancers photographs from the conflict. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists in a Feb. 6 posting, the paper for which American Marie Colvin was working when she was killed last year in Homs, doesn’t want to encourage those willing to risk their lives to get the story out. The site reports that 28 journalists were killed in Syria “in combat or targeted for murder by government or opposition forces,” as of mid-December, 2012. CPJ says two more have so far been killed this year in Syria.
CPJ quotes Paul Wood, a BBC Middle East correspondent who covered Iraq and numerous other wars, as saying the Syrian conflict “is the most difficult one we’ve done.” Bashar al-Assad’s government sought to cut off the flow of information by barring entry to international reporters, forcing Wood and many other international journalists to travel clandestinely into Syria to cover the conflict. “We’ve hidden in vegetable trucks, been chased by Syrian police—things happen when you try to report covertly.”
http://www.cpj.org/