Terrifying reports as journalists caught in the Mosul crossfire
Daesh militants pictured in Mosul (AFP/File)
A CNN journalist filed a shocking dispatch from the frontline in Mosul yesterday, drawing attention to the dangers faced by reporters as troops battle Daesh in the city.
Arwa Damon, a Senior Correspondent for the US news channel, was trapped in a house under siege by Daesh fighters, and at the lowest point the reporter was surrounded by 22 wounded soldiers and only six who weren’t injured.
“ISIS ambushed them in a very complex attack,” Damon reported. “This is the most harrowing experience I have ever been through despite covering war zones for almost more than a decade”
Her dispatch is a shocking reflection of the extreme lengths journalists, both foreign and Iraqi, are going to in their reporting from Mosul. Reports from the front line – particularly now, as Iraqi soldiers draw closer to the Daesh-controlled city itself – are peppered with close calls and harrowing details.
In a report for the BBC, for example, journalist Ayman Oghanna is dressed in full protective gear in a reinforced vehicle as he tells the camera he’s nervous. Later, a sniper bullet hits the vehicle’s window and mortar bombs fall close by.
Another clip, again from the BBC, shows Arabic language reporter Feras Kilani caught metres away from a huge explosion. A photographer immediately jumps up and begins snapping after the blast.
Of course, some confrontations have not ended so luckily. Two journalists have died and around ten seriously injured covering the drive to retake the city so far.
All this raises serious questions about the lengths journalists should be expected to go to in covering war zones. Metro Centre, a monitoring organisation in Kurdistan, told Iraqi news site Niqash that irresponsible employers were partly to blame, and that the desire of some journalists to be heroic may also have contributed to injury or even death.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) warned journalists to be cautious when attempting to cover war zones. “Due to the extreme dangers journalists covering this conflict around Mosul are facing, we join the call of our affiliates and urge journalists and media workers to take all necessary precaution to stay safe,” IFJ President Phillipe Leruth said in a statement. “We also remind employers of their duty of care to their staff, who should not be sent to the frontline without having appropriate safety gears and without receiving proper safety training before.”
But the coverage journalists have been producing from the front line often makes up for the sometimes astonishing risks they take, at least in the eyes of reporters themselves.
And if the journalists are having a tough time, it’s because the battle for Mosul itself looks set to be a brutal and violent slog. As Iraqi troops clash with ISIS soldiers sometimes house to house in the city’s suburbs, it’s a fight that doesn’t look like it will end anytime soon.
- CNN Journalist Shot and Wounded in Gaza Fighting
- Press Group: Afghan Deaths Bring Journalists Toll to 53 in 2001
- Five main reasons Al Jazeera journalist Fahmy is suing the network after his Egypt arrest
- Reporter slammed for posing with a gun in Peshmerga photograph
- Call the fashion police! Daesh deserters in drag