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Entries in Yves Debay (1)


Syria Live Coverage: Another Mass Killing, Another Dispute of Responsibility

Today's demonstration in Kafranbel in Idlib Province

See also Syria Feature: Who Carried Out the Mass Killing in Haswiyeh?
Algeria (and Beyond) Coverage: At Least 30 Hostages Killed in Rescue Attempt
Thursday's Syria Live Coverage: Who Bombed Aleppo University?

2015 GMT: Al Jazeera Reporter was Activist. Al Jazeera English provides more information on the Al Jazeera reporter who was killed in Daraa:

"The Syrian journalist, 33, used the pseudonym of Mohamed Al-Horani, was shot with three bullets, during covering the fights at the front lines in the town of Busra Al-Harir in the countryside of Daraa." the news channel said in a press release on Friday.

An Al Jazeera Media Network spokesperson affirmed that "targeting its collaborating journalists and crews will not change the editorial method and guidelines adopted by the network since it was launched 16 years ago for the sake of delivering the truth".

AJE's liveblog says that Horani was a "freelancer."

Al Jazeera says that this is another example of the regime targeting journalists. But here's the problem. A video shows the minute he was shot. The first and obvious problem is that he was traveling with armed combatants, which means that he was vulnerable to being targeted by an opposing faction. Rules of war dictate that journalists and medical professionals should not be specifically targeted, but if they are traveling with combatants then this prohibition is more or less out the window. The second problem is the method in which he was killed. Horani, his cameraman, and a group of insurgents arrive at a street. First, an armed (and fast moving) insurgent runs across the street. After a pause, Horani then runs. He is not as fast, and the sniper has had time to line up a shot. The sniper opens fire, and Horani falls.

The sniper may not have known that a member of the press was in the area, expected an insurgent to cross the road, and likely did not have enough time to properly discern that Horani was not an insurgent. A combat veteran we showed the video too shook his head, because the folly of Horani's decision was so obvious to him.

This begs another question. According to Al Jazeera, this is a freelance journalist who was first an activist in Syria. He began to work for Al Jazeera after he was arrested and then released from prison. Did this man have any training in journalism? Was he objective? Was he properly trained by Al Jazeera to protect himself in a warzone? Or was he just given a camera and set loose?

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