Freelance Photog’s Tale of Abduction By Syrian Rebels Serves As Warning

Posted by on Friday August 23, 2013 | Photojournalism

Today The New York Times published a story about a freelance photographer’s abduction and captivity in Syria. The tale should serve as a warning for photojournalists—particularly those who are inexperienced—who might be inclined to freelance in a war zone.

Matthew Schrier was abducted in Aleppo on December 31, 2012, he told the Times, taken out of a taxi by Syrian rebels with ties to Al Qaeda and passed among rebel groups for seven months. According to the article by CJ Chivers, Schrier believes the driver of the taxi he was riding in out of Aleppo “probably” participated in his abduction.

“His experience reflects the sharply deteriorated climate for foreigners and moderate Syrians in areas subject to the whims of armed religious groups whose members roam roads, staff checkpoints and occupy a constellation of guerrilla bases,” Chivers writes.

Schrier’s captives accused him of working for the CIA, tortured and interrogated him, and assumed his identity online and communicated with his friends and family. In an account of one of the beatings Schrier suffered, Chivers writes, a captor asked Schrier, “Have you heard of Guantánamo Bay?”

When he escaped he left behind another American who couldn’t fit through the small basement window Schrier had slipped out of.

“Mr. Schrier’s detention is one of more than 15 cases of Westerners, mostly journalists, being abducted or disappearing in Syria this year,” Chivers writes. “The victims range from seasoned correspondents to new freelancers, like Mr. Schrier, who was covering his first war.”

Read the full story: http://nyti.ms/1c0IJfh


COMMENTS

MORE POSTS

Photographer Kamaran Najm’s Friends Break Silence on His 2014 Kidnapping

Posted by on Tuesday November 14, 2017 | Photojournalism

Three years after photojournalist Kamaran Najm, co-founder of the Iraqi photo agency Metrography, was kidnapped in Iraq, his friends and colleagues have ended their media blackout and released information on his disappearance. Kamaran was abducted by ISIS militants on June 12, 2014, shortly after he was wounded while covering the fighting between ISIS and Kurdish... More

Tuesday Tip: How to Avoid Shilling for Controversial Subjects

Posted by on Tuesday November 14, 2017 | Photojournalism

From stories about foreign wars to domestic political rifts, there is plenty of media manipulation. Partisans for various causes are eager to use photographers to get their propaganda out. Photographers discussed strategies for avoiding that in “Documenting White Supremacy,” a story in our November issue. Here is some of their advice: “If you fall into... More

Photographer Bill Frakes Loses Sexual Harassment Appeal

Posted by on Wednesday November 8, 2017 | Photojournalism

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) has rejected photographer Bill Frakes’s appeal in a sexual harassment case, because “clear and convincing evidence” showed he had violated university sexual harassment policies, according to a report in the Omaha World-Herald. Last summer, Frakes lost his position as an adjunct professor at UNL because he had “engaged in sexual... More