June 20th, 2014

Danish Photojournalist Released in Syria after 13 Months in Captivity

Daniel Rye Ottosen, a Danish photojournalist who has been held captive in Syria for 13 months, was released yesterday and reunited with his family, Denmark’s Foreign Ministry reports. According to the Associated Press, a ministry spokesperson would not comment on reports that Ottosen had been kidnapped by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or answer questions about whether or not a ransom had been paid for his release.

Ottosen, a freelancer, had been photographing the effects of the ongoing civil conflict in the country when he went missing on May 17, 2013.

In March of this year, a Spanish photographer and a reporter were released after 194 in captivity. Other journalists, however, remain unaccounted for. James Foley, a contributor to Global Post, has been missing since November 2012. American Austin Tice has been missing since August 2012. Today, Tice’s mother posted on Twitter: “Today, we celebrate the release of Daniel Rye Ottosen. This good news brings us great joy and hope. All the best to him and his family.”

Syria is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. At the end of 2013, a dozen international news organizations signed a joint letter to the Syrian opposition and militias demanding action to curb the “disturbing rise in the kidnapping of journalists.”

Related articles:
Kidnapped, Beaten and Shot in Syria, Photographer and Writer Manage to Escape

Spanish Journalists Freed After 194 Days in Captivity in Syria

Freelance Photographer, Age 18, Killed in Syria

May 27th, 2014

Photojournalist and Translator Killed in Eastern Ukraine; 1 Photographer Injured in Mortar Attack

Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli, and his Russian interpreter, Andrei Mironov, were killed May 25 by mortar fire near Slavyansk in the Eastern Ukraine, the Italian foreign ministry reported.

They had been covering fighting between pro-Russian rebels and government forces in the region. William Roguelon, a French photojournalist who was  traveling with Rocchelli and Mironov, told news organizations that they came under mortar fire and had taken shelter in a ditch when they were hit. Roguelon is now recovering from injuries sustained in the attack.

Rocchelli, 30, had previously covered stories in the Caucuses, Afghanistan, India, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, the NPPA reports. This year, he covered the protests in Kiev’s Maidan Square. In 2008, Rochelli cofounded the photo collective Cesura. He is survived by his girlfriend and their son, age 3.

Mironov, 60, was a human rights activist who had been imprisoned as a dissident during the Soviet regime.

December 23rd, 2013

Freelance Photographer Killed in Syria

Molhem Barakat ©Reuters

Molhem Barakat ©Reuters

A Syrian freelance photographer was killed in Aleppo December 20 while covering a battle between rebels and government forces for control of a hospital, according to a report from Reuters.

Molhem Barakat had contributed “dozens of photographs” of the conflict to Reuters since last May, according to the report, which provided few other details about the photographer.

The fighting between rebels and government forces for control of Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, has been intense in recent days. The government has launched air strikes on the city for the past week, according to news reports.

Twenty-two other journalists have died while covering the civil war in Syria during 2013, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. More than 50 have been killed since the fighting there began in 2011.

March 29th, 2012

Free Conflict-Training Course Now Accepting Applications

Photojournalists covering conflict zones can now apply for Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues (RISC) training. RISC, which was founded by journalist and author Sebastian Junger, currently has courses scheduled for New York City in April 2012, London in fall 2012 and Beirut in winter 2012/2013. Each three-day workshop focuses on teaching attendees crucial combat medical skills.

Junger was a friend of the late photojournalist Tim Hetherington, with whom he collaborated on the documentary Restrepo. He started RISC after he learned that Hetherington, who was killed by a mortar in Misrata, Libya, last year, could have survived his injuries if someone on the ground with him knew basic lifesaving techniques.

“Combat photographers like Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington regularly take chances that many writers wouldn’t dream of, and as a result they suffer a disproportionate number of casualties,” Junger says. “RISC is an attempt to train freelancers in battlefield medicine and equip them with combat medical packs so that they can render aid immediately and effectively. The industry has gone far too long without providing any medical training for the people—mostly freelance photographers—who run most of the risks.”

Most conflict-training courses can be costly. However, applicants accepted into RISC courses are only required to pay for their own travel and food expenses. Housing and workshop costs are covered with funds raised by RISC. Many media organizations have donated funding for the first round of workshops, including ABC News, National Geographic, Vanity Fair and Condé Nast, and Getty Images.

The first workshop takes place in New York City April 18 through 20, which is the one-year anniversary of Hetherington’s death. At the time of this writing, all but three of the 24 spots were filled, with eight people on the waiting list. Applicants were chosen based on the amount of time they’ve spent in conflict zones. RISC’s mission is to train experienced conflict reporters, photojournalists and other members of the media who will use the medical skills on future assignments. The workshops do not include hostile environment training, such as preparation for loud noises, surprise attacks or mitigating personal risk.

Though the dates aren’t set for the London and Beirut workshops, RISC has already received applications for both cities (42 and 15, respectively). Regardless, the organization encourages journalists to continue to apply since it plans on holding courses once a year in all three cities.

Go to risctraining.org to apply for workshops and get more information.

Related Articles:

Survival Training for Conflict Zones
What to Expect if You’re Injured on Assignment
In Case of Emergency: Recommended Practices for Notifications
Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington: A Reflection

February 22nd, 2012

Photographer Remi Ochlik Killed in Homs, Syria

© Lucas Dolega

Freelance photographer Remi Ochlik was killed today in the besieged city of Homs, Syria, according to several news organizations. Reporter Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times of London was killed in the same attack. An aid worker told Reuters the journalists were at a make-shift media center set up by rebels fighting the Syrian army when it was struck by shells. Ochlik and Colvin were trying to flee the building when they were hit by a rocket. The same aid worker also told Reuters two other journalists, including British photographer Peter Conroy, were injured in the attack. Syrian videographer/activist Rami al-Sayed also died of wounds sustained during earlier shelling.

This month, Ochlik, who was represented by the IP3 agency, won first place in the General News/Stories category of the World Press Photo Awards for his work on the civil war in Libya.
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