Our editors & readers talk
I’ve written before that a camera is not a weapon, that a journalist is not a combatant, that the pen and the sword should not be confused.
Yet the Israel Defense Forces seem to be putting the camera very much in the category of weapon in a report on the death in April of Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana.
I’ve given a quote to our reporters about my disappointment in the report.
That it does state that the death was a “tragedy” does not counteract the fact that it condoned the firing of two deadly shells at people it admitted had not been identified clearly and whose only crime was to put a camera on a tripod.
Said the report: “Two persons were spotted leaving the vehicle, carrying a large black object. The black object was placed on a tripod above a dirt mound, and directed at the tank…. The tank crew reported the spotting to its superiors. The latter authorized firing a tank shell at the characters, in light of the genuine suspicion that the object mounted on the tripod and directed at the tank was an anti-tank missile or mortar, a suspicion consistent with the characteristics of that day’s hostilities…”
The Biblical image of alchemy is powerful:They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Yet, once again, the alchemy went the wrong way: a soldier mistook a camera for a weapon, fired his real weapon, and a journalist was killed.
(Note: Reuters Editor-in-Chief David Schlesinger sent this note to all Reuters journalists today after cameraman Fadel Shana was killed along with two civilians in the Gaza Strip. Full story here)
I’m very sorry to report that 23-year-old Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana was killed on Wednesday in what appeared to be an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip.