i Editor's Letter: A reminder of the dangers faced by journalists


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The Independent Online


Atrocities such as yesterday’s massacre in Egypt challenge the ability of war-hardened correspondents to remain emotionally distant from the events unfolding before them. Security forces killed at least 150 people and wounded many hundreds in protest camps in Cairo, snipers were reported to have fired into crowds. Despite the bloodshed, the Interior Ministry initially denied that live rounds had been used. The Egyptian Vice-President has resigned in disgust.

Among the dead, a Sky News cameraman, Mick Deane, 61, and a reporter for Gulf News, Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz, 26. A journalist’s death is not worth more than that of a civilian, despite the column inches. But such killings show the dangers journalists face all over the world, in sharing with a wider public the reality of war and state violence. Last year, 121 journalists and media workers were violently killed, according to the International Federation of Journalists.

As editors, perched on our swivel chairs in London, we try to listen to the reporter on the ground. In turn, they listen to local journalists or fixers. Editors may think, ‘This is getting too dangerous, our correspondent needs to pull back’, while the reporter on the ground says it is better to sit tight; that they’re not safe but it would be more hazardous to move. Such unknowably fine margins separate the people in the morgue from those who live on for tomorrow.


Good luck from all of us at i to our readers who find out their A-level results this morning – and to the family and friends who are waiting for that call. However you fare, we wish you every happiness and adventure in the next chapter of your lives.


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