Schofield death highlights perils for journalists

TURMOIL IN THE BALKANS: HOW BBC MAN DIED

The Foreign Office is expected to press the Croatian authorities for a full inquiry into the death of John Schofield, the BBC reporter killed by Croatian gunfire on Wednesday.

Mr Schofield, 29, and three BBC colleagues were filming Croatian army soldiers torching houses near the village of Vrginmost, south of Zagreb, when the team came under sustained fire. They fell to the ground but the shooting continued from close range, and Mr Schofield, who was wearing a flak jacket, was shot in the neck. Two colleagues were slightly injured. Shortly after, Croatian soldiers appeared to apologise for the attack, and arranged to evacuate the team.

Zagreb at first suggested that Mr Schofield had been killed by Serb forces. However, the BBC and British diplomats in Zagreb are satisfied that the shots came from Croats,who were "nervous and jumpy".

Reporters sans Frontieres, an international organisation of journalists, wrote to President Franjo Tudjman of Croatia yesterday to protest at the killing and to demand an impartial inquiry into Mr Schofield's death.

Mr Schofield, who worked for BBC radio, was the 56th journalist killed on assignment during four years of war in former Yugoslavia. The victims include 24 foreigners and 32 local reporters, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Troops often object to television crews filming what they see as sensitive areas, and have threatened many reporters. But it is more usual to steal or confiscate video tape, film or camera equipment, or to shoot to frighten, than actually to kill reporters in cold blood.

Many reporters have been shot, very deliberately, by snipers while driving cars clearly marked with "TV"- the sign of a press car. There has been much debate over whether to mark cars or not: large news agencies use white armoured Land Rovers, which are often mistaken for UN vehicles.

The last reporters to die in Bosnia were two Americans from Spin magazine who drove over a mine near Mostar while trying to find the road to Sarajevo.

Several journalists wounded in the war have returned, including Margaret Moth, a CNN camerawoman shot through the jaw in Sarajevo, Martin Bell, who was hit by shrapnel in the city, Rob Celliers, shot by a sniper in the Serb-held suburb of Ilidza and Corinne Dufka, a Reuter photographer injured by a mine in Gornji Vakuf. The first three are in Bosnia, Ms Dufka has moved to Africa and covers Rwanda.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected