The media is solemnly commemorating the one-year anniversary of the deaths of legendary foreign correspondent Marie Colvin and French freelance photojournalist Rémi Ochlik, who were killed in Homs in Syria on February 22 2012.
The Times foreign desk in London, where Colvin filed stories to from conflict zones around the world, held a minute’s silence to remember their fallen colleague on Friday.
Colvin was a well-respected and much-loved reporter in the Middle East.
The US-born reporter worked as The Times’ Middle East correspondent from 1986-1995 before becoming Foreign Affairs correspondent. She was the first journalist to interview former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi after the US Operation El Dorado Canyon bombing campaign.
Colvin also covered conflicts in Chechnya, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, East Timor and Sri Lanka, where she was severely injured by a Sri Lankan army rocket-propelled grenade (RPG), losing her left eye to the blast. She wore a signature eye-patch as a result.
Colvin and Ochlik died after Syrian government shelling hit a specialised media building in Homs.
London-based organisation A Day Without News? has chosen today’s anniversary to launch an awareness campaign about the risks faced by journalists and photojournalists in war zones.
Social media users are urged to share a link (www.adaywithoutnews.com) on Twitter and Facebook to remind remind the public about the very real dangers still faced by reporters today.
Over the past decade, 945 photojournalists and correspondents have been killed while covering conflict zones, 583 of these without any resulting prosecutions as war crimes. 90 journalists were killed while reporting from war zones in 2012 alone, including the high profile cases of Colvin and Ochlik in Homs, Syria, along with Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington in Misrata, Libya in 2011.
Aidan Sullivan, co-founder of A Day Without News? said: “It is unacceptable that those looking to report objectively from conflict zones around the world are deliberately singled out, targeted and murdered with impunity, with those responsible for their deaths not facing any repercussions.”
“Without these journalists bearing witness, atrocities committed in war would go unremarked and it is an equal cruelty that their deaths go without justice,” he said. “This is a situation that has to change.”