Airdate: Under Fire: Journalists in Combat

Journalists have certainly been in the firing line this year, but this doco on SBS looks at real battle, as they work in combat zones in order to bring stories back home.

Journalism in times of war has, over the past half century, become an increasingly traumatic and lethal endeavour. Only two journalists were killed in World War I; this in a war that claimed the lives of over 19,000 soldiers in a single day and saw 16 million dead by the end of the war. In World War II, 63 journalists died. By contrast, 120 journalists were killed in the first six years of the Iraq war. The International News Safety Institute now counts 1,397 news media dead in the ten years since 1996 in 105 countries.

Not only are journalists increasingly viewed as natural targets by enemy forces, they are now also subject to kidnappings, torture and even beheadings. Under Fire: Journalists in Combat weaves together portraits of these journalists and photographers; those who have survived physically but succumbed emotionally to what they went through. Many are now able to put their emotional odysseys into perspective, while others are still severely troubled.

Including first-hand accounts by journalists from Canada, Britain and the US, including reporters like former New York Times war correspondent and now author, Chris Hedges; Anthony Lloyd, war correspondents for The Sunday Times and author of Oh, My War I Love It So and Another Bloody Love Letter; Ian Stewart, the Canadian Bureau Chief for AP in West Africa who was wounded and now suffers PTSD; Paul Watson, Pulitzer prize winning reporter and photojournalist and author of Where War Lives; Christina Lamb, London’s Sunday Times foreign correspondent and author of Small Wars Permitting; Jeremy Bowen, BBC’s television special correspondent, and Finbarr O’Reilly, award-winning Reuters photojournalist and documentary filmmaker.

Under Fire: Journalists in Combat Wednesday, 19 December at 9.30pm on SBS ONE.

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