Monday, April 28, 2003

A wealth of top class, timely articles in today's Guardian.

Michael Howard's report on the landmine situation in Northern Iraq is essential reading, even if the Daily Mirror did the same story a week ago. Howard reports that "In the two weeks after the cessation of hostilities on the northern frontline, which divided the Kurdish self-rule area from government-controlled territory, as many as 80 civilians have died and more than 500 have been injured (because of landmines)." Tell me about it.

Also of interest is the piece by the ubiquitous Dr Raj Persaud on incidents of post-traumatic stress among journalists. It's a thought-provoking read, although I disagree with his possible explanation for the increasing number of fatalities among war correspondents. He says that: "One theory is that journalists are driven to take greater risks by rising competitive pressures." As I said in the piece I wrote after the accident, the media market is extremely competitive but the correspondents I have worked with in hostile environments take calculated risks where necessary without putting their lives or the lives of local staff at risk.

Thirdly in today's fun-packed Guardian is Armando Iannucci's analysis of the media's role in Gulf War 2. Iannucci's argument: "The decision to embed reporters with troops led to great footage but lousy reportage. No reporter, his or her life literally being protected by the military round them, was going to file a report saying "the troops I'm living with are disgruntled. Their equipment doesn't work, they're probably blowing up children, and one or two of them are going to die." Instead, objectivity melted faster than a division of the Republican Guard, and these seekers of the truth were reduced to gasping excited commentaries such as "over there, some bastard Iraqis are firing on us. If, in a few minutes' time, some of these wonderful men of Britannia to whom I've pledged my daughter don't shoot them in the guts, then I'm damn well going to do it myself."

Good stuff.

Discuss Northern Iraq -- and Beyond


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