Reuters Editors

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Another dreadful loss in the Reuters family

April 12, 2010

The following is the text of a staff email sent this morning by Editor-in-Chief David Schlesinger.

The news that our colleague, Hiro Muramoto, was shot and killed covering the violence in Bangkok broke on Saturday.

Once more the cause and profession of journalism has claimed a life.

He died for the story. That is not a price we ever want to pay.

There is no more important cause for us as a company and for us as professionals than journalistic safety.

To have Hiro die just after we watched on the newly leaked video the 2007 deaths of our colleagues Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh is devastating to me; I’m sure most of you feel similar emotions.

We know that covering the story forces us to rush towards danger when others rush away. We know that death can come from anywhere. We know how dangerous the places we cover are.

Yet, we’re never prepared for the dreadful reality when a colleague loses his life. Nor should we be. Nor should we ever just accept it.

If death is caused by military action, then we must work tirelessly to influence the generals and the civilians who command them to recognise the vital work journalists do, to provide full investigations and transparency whenever tragedies occur, and to enable true justice and accountability.

If death occurs in the midst of chaotic rioting, then we must strive to review our procedures and training again to make sure we are doing absolutely everything we can to make the dangerous work safe.

Our mission as journalists is to tell the story.

Our mission as a company is to make sure our journalists can tell that story safely.

This is a time of great sadness. But it is also a time of great resolve to redouble our efforts for journalist safety throughout the world.

Photo:  Reuters television cameraman Hiro Muramoto.

Comments

It appears that you assume that military action is a “game” that is controllable by “generals.” Where they certainly influence the action: first, it is not a game, and second, they are less often in control than out. For certain, military commanders are responsible, a fact lost on most pundits and all but a few politicians. May I suggest that you read Clausewitz’s “The Fog of War” for a more enlightened point of view.

To the extent that a journalist goes into harms way, that journalist can expect a short life-expectancy. One thing is certain, journalists who compromise an operation by their presence might just as well be the enemy.

Reporting on conflict is inherently dangerous, in a certain context it is also “glamorous” for those who choose that line of work. So, just as some “generals” do it for the glory, so do most all journalists, and from time to time both die. A sad but true fact. Honesty and integrity are appreciated by both but both do not always manifest those qualities.

We mourn both.

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