Tuesday 23 January 2018

Video: Reporter who paid the ultimate price

Robert Dex

MARIE Colvin was in no doubt of the "ultimate price" journalists have to pay to cover war.

Ms Colvin, who grew up in Long Island, New York, covered war zones in Chechnya, Kosovo and Sierra Leone in a lengthy career.

The Middle-East specialist, who worked for the Sunday Times for more than a decade, recently visited Tunisia, Egypt and Libya to cover the Arab Spring.

It was while working in Sri Lanka that a grenade attack left her blind in one eye and forced to wear an eye patch to cover up the injury.

Ms Colvin, the only British newspaper reporter in Homs, spoke to the BBC only yesterday from the besieged city, telling viewers she had seen a baby boy die after he was hit by shrapnel.

She reported on the "sickening" scenes she had witnessed, saying: "I watched a little baby die today. Absolutely horrific, just a two-year-old."

Ms Colvin, who was educated at Yale, started her career as a police reporter for a news agency in New York before moving to Paris and then London.

She was featured in the 2005 documentary Bearing Witness about women war reporters and was named foreign reporter of the year at the 2010 British Press Awards.

The same year, she spoke at a memorial service for journalists who died reporting conflicts around the world.

She told her audience that despite the "sanitised language" and "smart bombs" that marked modern warfare, the reality had remained unchanged for centuries.

She said: "Our mission is to report these horrors of war with accuracy and without prejudice.

"We always have to ask ourselves whether the level of risk is worth the story. What is bravery, and what is bravado?

"Journalists covering combat shoulder great responsibilities and face difficult choices. Sometimes they pay the ultimate price."

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