this section we plan to post comments and advice received from
journalists and others about locations they are currently working in or
have recently visited, for the benefit of others who may need to work
in these places. You will be able to read those comments here and are
also invited to send us your own responses, advice and details of your
experiences, using our Add Advice facility.
Name: Humberto Márquez Media: IPS
Date received: 16 May 2005
the tempest", probably is the worst common place lying on the desk* of
a journalist to express the feeling conveyed by Carlos Mesa´s speech.
The President of Bolivia is holding an improvised conference in the
Auditorium in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. His speech is flawless.
The Yacaré Mojeño, who live in the
Amazonian rain forest by the Ichilo River, explain the journalist their
fight for the land where they had been settled since the night of the
times. The meeting takes place in the relaxed surrounding of a country
resort** . Anacleto Supayabe, their spokesperson, is wearing a White
Sox of Chicago baseball cap. But is better not to rely on appearances.
He and his people are only gathering forces for the second semester of
2005, when they would go to the streets to demand a Constituent
Jorge Prestel, a tall man with a
thundering voice, is the President of the cattle owners. He blames the
countries of the North for the problems countries like Bolivia are
facing. Protectionism is closing markets to imports like cattle or soy
beans. At the same time, the Pro Santa Cruz Committee, leaded by
businessmen, is promoting Santa Cruz autonomy to plan and manage the
province development without La Paz.
Between Santa Cruz and la Paz is
located the coca growing area of El Chapare. There the countrymen
follow the left leaning leader Evo Morales. When the demonstrators
block the roads, exports are interrupted and the anti narcotics elite
police group, funded by the US, cannot advance their campaign to
destroy coca plantations banned by the DEA.
International meetings avoid La
Paz, wheareas for its altitude or its political turmoil, and find a
place in Santa Cruz. European journalists looking for strong emotions
attend some lethargic conference. But they can be more comforted in the
Jesuit Missions from the XVIII Century. Whether the youngest, visit the
new attraction, the Che tour, in the Higuera, where Guevara was shot
Santa Cruz, looked with a myriad of
eyes, is a well planned city at the western side of the country. Is hot
and humid as any other location close to the rainforest. People that
walk along with you on the sidewalks could be Bolivian, Central
American, perhaps Colombian or Venezuelan. Counseling is heard about
special cares, but there is nothing more dangerous there as south
Bogotá or Caracas outbound.
Wear casual and light clothes. Or a
spring jacket: it could rain or freeze in any minute. It´s fairly easy
to change dollars and to pay with. Food is abundant and cheap. Meat is
delicious and Bolivian beer is one of the best in the world. One piece
of the city is twinkling there in the outdoor restaurants and cafés.
Everything is calm. As if Bolivia weren't´t in the eye of the tempest; the tempest that can shake South America.
* Mesa in Spanish means table.
** in English in the original text.
Un viaje a Santa Cruz no nos hace expertos
Humberto Márquez (*), para el INSI
La “calma que precede a la
tempestad” es uno de los más aborrecidos lugares comunes con los que
debe lidiar cualquier mesa de redacción, pero es la sensación que
transmite Mesa, Carlos, el presidente de Bolivia, mientras improvisa un
discurso de ocasión, impecablemente hilvanado, ante un auditorio en
Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
Indígenas yuracaré-mojeño, que
habitan los bosques junto al amazónico río Ichilo, explican al
periodista su lucha por derechos sobre las tierras que ocupan desde
tiempo inmemorial. La reunión transcurre en el distendidísimo ambiente
de un resort campestre. Un portavoz, Anacleto Supayabe luce una gorra
de los Medias Blancas de Chicago. Las apariencias engañan: están
acumulando fuerzas para cuando en el segundo semestre de 2005, quizás,
se lancen al combate callejero por una Constituyente.
Jorge Prestel, un gigantón con voz de trueno que preside la Asociación
de Ganaderos, dice que el drama de países como el suyo está en el
proteccionismo del Norte, que cierra mercados a rubros que van desde la
carne hasta la soya. En paralelo, el Comité Pro Santa Cruz, dirigido
por los empresarios, promueve la autonomía para planificar y
administrar, sin depender de La Paz, el crecimiento económico de la
Entre Santa Cruz y La Paz está el Chapare, zona donde se cultiva coca y
los campesinos siguen al líder izquierdista Evo Morales. Cuando los
manifestantes bloquean las carreteras, se interrumpen las exportaciones
hacia el Pacífico y la policía de élite antinarcóticos, auspiciada por
Estados Unidos, no puede avanzar en sus campañas para destruir los
sembrados de la planta proscrita por la DEA.
Reuniones internacionales que esquivan La Paz, por su altitud o sus
borrascas políticas, encuentran espacio en Santa Cruz, en tanto
periodistas europeos que buscan emociones fuertes se consuelan, de la
cobertura de alguna soporífera conferencia, yendo a visitar, los
mayores, las misiones jesuitas del siglo XVIII. Los más jóvenes, el
nuevo destino turístico, La Ruta del Ché, que desemboca en La Higuera,
donde cayó Guevara.
Santa Cruz, mirada con tan variados ojos, es una bien planificada
ciudad del oriente boliviano, calurosa como cualquier emplazamiento de
una llanura en el trópico. Gente que camina junto a usted en la acera
le puede parecer tan de allí como centroamericana, quizá colombiana o
venezolana. Se escuchan consejos sobre inseguridad y cuidados, pero
nada parecido al sur de Bogotá o la periferia de Caracas.
A vestir, ropas holgadas y casuales. Una chaqueta ligera: de repente
llega un frío o un chubasco. Es fácil cambiar los dólares o pagar con
ellos. La comida es abundante y no costosa, la carne de vacuno una
delicia, la cerveza boliviana de las mejores el mundo, algún trozo de
la ciudad vibra en la noche, cubierto de restaurantes y cafés al aire
Todo como muy en calma. Como si Bolivia no estuviera en el corazón de la tempestad que puede sacudir a Sudamérica. (FIN)
(*) Corresponsal de la agencia IPS en Caracas.
Name: Journalist from Nepal
Date received: 8 February 2005
Comment: Situation in Nepal
Thank you very much for the 3-copies of Live News (Survival Guide for
Journalists) you sent free-of-charge to me and my organization Nation
Weekly. Luckily it arrived just ahead of the current Royal "takeover"
by the King in Nepal and it has become very handy in dealing with my
reporting assignments under the current circumstances. I have also
passed it on to a few of my friends for reading and they all highly
value its content.
The media seems to have been most hard hit with blanket censorship
imposed by the Royal government after the declaration of emergency. For
the first few days since February 1, army personnel were even editing
word-to-word news on major publication houses and TV stations. Later,
the government issued a notice warning journalists not to go "against
the spirit" of the Royal proclamation and not to "demoralize" the
security forces fighting the Maoists. A few of the journalists have
been arrested and most have gone underground. But worse is that a lot
of media houses have chosen to close down rendering hundreds jobless,
including me. It is an extremely sad situation here. As I can observe,
most are starting to hold a low morale and could take years before we
build back up to where we had flourished with democracy.
E-mail, internet and telephone services have come to full-fledged
operation starting only today. But I am not sure if this is just
temporary. But we have chosen to move on together. Thank you for being
Name: William Freear, Managing Director, Pilgrims Special Projects
Date received: 1 February 2005
Comment: Women Reporting War: Equipment
We enjoyed the Women Reporting War debate and learnt things we had not previously considered.
With regard to
the point that was brought up about female body armour not being easy
to get hold of. We provide bespoke female cut body armour that is
covert and graded to level 4 (maximum protection). The female cut is
cut specifically to each person requirements.
We provide a
sizing chart so that orders can be sized. The costs is £750 for female
sets (£650 for male as comes in standard sizes)
We have had excellent feedback from this model and if we can be of any help please don't hesitate to contact us at any time
Name: Sasha Merkushev
Date received: 10 January 2005
Comment: Safety Tips for Iraq
in Iraq is dangerous, no doubt. But unlike many other hotspots, it has
its specifics, which any journalist traveling to Iraq should take into
The dilemmas that face journalists in what regards safety precautions that they can take are as follows:
flak jacket is known to have saved lives in war. In Iraq, a local
journalist found to be wearing one, or even having one in the car,
faces the risk of being beheaded as a collaborator - who else would
have a $500+ bullet-proof vest? So, would you prefer to be shot and
wounded (or killed) when you are without your flak, or beheaded - and
shown on TV as an extra bonus?
It goes without
saying that foreign reporters are in danger irrespectively of whether
they have body armor or not. If you are a foreigner and need to go on
an assignment, put on a flak jacket to halve the risk.
Cellphones are now operational in many Iraqi cities, and the rates are
not too high, which means it is now safe to own and use a mobile. If
you go to places which are not covered by the phone service, you may be
asked to take along a Thuraya satphone - think before you use it.
Owning a Thuraya phone means only one thing: you work for a foreign
(i.e. hostile) company and, therefore, have no right to be in Iraq. See
above for possible consequences.
- Iraqi nationals who go out to
report/film stuff know how to take care of themselves and how not to
attract attention from either side in the conflict. But nowadays, they
wouldn't like reporters, looking 'foreign', join them on trips outside
or even inside Baghdad. This effectively means all non-Arab looking
journalists are doomed to spend their days inside their often
unprotected compounds or hotels.
- Journalists working in dangerous
environments often use large white vehicles, with the huge letters TV
or Press painted on them. This is not a good idea in Iraq - such
vehicles are called "RPG magnets" here. If you must, ride in an
inconspicuous armored car that doesn't stand out. Local reporters
prefer taxis or other low-profile vehicles.
- Photographers and TV folks used to wear
green or olive-colored vests with lots of pockets for tapes, lenses,
and other stuff. Not any longer - in Iraq, the vest is associated with
"contractors", usually defense or security personnel who help the
In brief, if you
want to look like a journalist, don't wear those vests, have something
casual instead. You don't want insurgents to take you for a CIA agent.
(Visit http://www.newsbee.org for more tips)
Name: Claude Collart Media: Jacana Media
Date received: 23 June 2004
Comment: Something to Write Home About
Reflections from the Heart of History
Edited by Claude Collart and Sahm Venter
Write Home About is a collection of more than 90 contributions of prose
and poetry, from journalists around the world, all reflections of how
they have been moved by events they have covered. Journalists who are
encouraged not to let their personal feelings enter their reports, have
given us a rare glimpse of the gamut of feelings they experience while
doing their jobs.
- reporters, photographers, television camera operators and producers –
represent 25 nationalities and write from more than 40 countries.
in his Foreword to the book Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus said:
"This anthology of deeply moving stories reveals that journalists are
not callous, hardhearted cynical operatives moving like predators after
their prey. They are wonderful sensitive human beings who laugh and
cry, who love and hate, who are calm, who are frightened, who are brave
and who are sometimes cowardly, but who are ultimately people who care,
who care about others and what is done to and for them, who care about
our world and hope that they might just have helped to make it a little
more hospitable to love and compassion and laughter and who have given
their services for free to honour their fallen comrades. They are
beautiful people and some of them have touched my life and I am just
that bit a better person for that."
have given their work for free as all royalties will be shared by two
very special funds: The Miguel Gil Moreno Foundation and the Kerem
Moreno, an award-winning Spanish-born television cameraman who had
given up a career as a corporate lawyer in Barcelona during the Bosnian
crisis, traveled to Sarajevo where he offered his assistance to
journalists there. He was killed in an ambush in Sierra Leone in 2000
with writer Kurt Schork from Reuters. His family established the Miguel
Gil Moreno Foundation which runs an annual award for humanitarian
journalism and hopes to raise funds to build an orphanage for girls in
The Kerem Lawton
Fund was set up in the name of British-Turkish television producer,
Kerem Lawton who was killed in the Balkans in 2001. The Fund was
established for Tara Lawton, the daughter and only child of Kerem and
his wife Elida Ramadani. Tara who lives with her mother in Kosovo was
born three months after her father's death.
Jacana Media, Something to Write Home About was launched in
Johannesburg on 3 May, International Media Freedom Day. Edited by South
African journalist Sahm Venter and her Belgian journalist husband,
Claude Colart, Something to Write Home About is dedicated to journalist
friends of theirs who have passed on and are sorely missed. They are
Ameen Akhalwaya, Miguel Gil Moreno, Chris Gutuza, Kerem Lawton, Aziz
Tassiem and Myles Tierney.
include: CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Chris Burns and Charlayne
Hunter-Gault, BBC’s Fergal Keane, Orla Guerin, Milton Nkosi and Hilary
Andersson, Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Greg Marinovich, authors
Hamilton Wende and Mike Cadman, SKY News’ Stuart Ramsay, SABC’s head of
news Jimi Matthews, award-winning writers Asha Krishnakumar and
Elizabeth Rubin, and CNN Free Press Africa Award 2003 winner –
Zimbabwean Walter Marwizi
To order a copy of the book send an email to email@example.com
Name: Abed Omar Qusini Media: Reuters|
Date received: 20 April 2004
Comment: WEST BANK/NABLUS
I am Abed Omar Qusini, Reuters Photographer in Nablus area, I have got this e-mail and I would like to comment on this issue.
situation in Nablus is normal. No thing around us here make us thing or
be afraid or worry for the safety of the foreign journalists visiting
Nablus. I am working in Nablus since 12 years and had worked as a
translator or guide for hundreds of journalists in this period and it
did not happen at all that any Palestinian faction or individual
threaten or attack any foreign journalists. Every day and yesterday
particularly we have many foreign journalists working in Nablus and
they dont face and problem and some time if there is any
misunderstanding with some body we solve it directly.
Good to know that
we have in Nablus around 11 Palestinian journalists working with
foreign agencies half of them members of the FPA and we have no problem
to help any journalist want to come to Nablus to make any story and any
one can contact me or the others to be sure about the situation .Every
one is welcomed to Nablus, the safe Nablus.
The other thing I
want to say here that it is good from the FPA or the Goverment Press
Office to inform the journalist about the situation in Nablus or any
where and every body apreciate that.
Please feel free or any one to contact me in Nablus to ask about anything in Nablus.
Abed Omar Qusini
Government Press office, citing Israeli intelligence sources, has asked
us to inform all members that there is credible evidence that foreign
journalists, in particular U.S. citizens, may be targeted for attack or
kidnap in the Nablus area over the next 72 hours.
The Foreign Press
Association would therefore urge all members to be particularly
vigilant in this area and advise them to provide colleagues with
detailed plans of their itineraries around Nablus in the near future.
Please pass this advisory to any other foreign nationals who may be
We would welcome
any feedback from contacts and sources in and around Nablus to cast
further light on the security situation there.
With best wishes
Name: John Laurence Media: |
Date received: 15 April 2004
everyone concerned about the deaths of the journalists Faleh Khaiber
and Taras Protsyuk in Baghdad last year due to American tank fire on
the Palestine Hotel read a new book by David Zucchino of the Los
Angeles Times called "Thunder Run." The relevant pages are 293-301.
whom I was embedded during the war, is an honest, experienced
journalist with no particular bias that I observed. He has interviewed
the 3rd Infantry Division officers, NCOs and enlisted men responsible
for the shooting as part of his historical reconstruction of the battle
of Baghdad. His account makes it clear that the tank gunner saw the
reflection of Taras's camera lens on the balcony of the hotel and fired
at what he thought was an Iraqi military forward observer using a
long-range telescope or binoculars mounted on a tripod. The shooting
took place on April 8th during a heavy firefight across the Jumhuriya
Bridge between U.S. tanks and Iraqi troops about one kilometre from the
hotel. The account makes clear that those involved in making the
decision to shoot at the building (they did not know it was a hotel
where journalists were guests because the other side of the river was
in territory assigned to US Marines to capture), from the brigade
commander on down, were horrified to learn that their actions had
caused harm to journalists.
May I suggest
that journalists who are faced with the same danger in future (urban
warfare around their hotel) try to mark the roof and sides of the upper
floors of the buildings with distinctive identification of some kind?
In Dacca, East Pakistan, in 1971, we journalists marked the roof of the
Intercontinental Hotel with a giant red cross, helpfully provided by
the IRC representative there, to warn Indian Air Force pilots not to
open fire on us. It worked. Despite heavy bombing of the city, no
journalists were killed or wounded.
Name: Conny Mus Media: RTL4 (the Netherlands)|
Date received: 5 March 2004
I spent last year off and on about 4 months in Iraq from the South till the North.
for the moment is to travel and operate in Iraq almost undercover -
exposing yourself too much is clearly endangering yourself - no tv
signs on your vehicles anymore - try to cover your car windows as such
that they cannot see that foreigners are inside - whenever outside get
friendly with the people before you start operating - most dangerous
are the Ali Baba's, the thiefs the robbers - they are out for your
money and equipment and they are armed and crazy enough to shoot and
kill - whenever you have to, you give them anything to save your life -
do not argue just give and get away alive.
Name: Marc Epstein Media: L'Express newsmagazine (France)|
Date received: 10 February 2004
regarding Khawar Mehdi Rizvi is now circulating. He was my Pakistani
guide and translator and is now in prison awaiting his trial. He risks
a life sentence. You are invited to check out the web site and sign, if
you wish, at www.freekhawar.org
Please forward this message to anyone who believes in the freedom of the press.
Tel: (+33.1) 5391 1282
Fax: (+33.1) 5391 1204
Name: Marc Epstein Media: L'Express newsmagazine (France)
Date received: 10 February 2004
Comment: Cher(e) ami(e),
circule concernant Khawar Mehdi Rizvi, mon guide et interprète au
Pakistan. Khawar est actuellement en prison et attend son procès. Il
risque la prison à vie. Lisez et signez le texte, si vous le souhaitez,
Mercie de faire suivre ce message à tous ceux qui souteinnent la liberté de la presse.
Tel: (+33.1) 5391 1282
Fax: (+33.1) 5391 1204