Former BBC chief news correspondent Kate Adie has branded journalists who use armed guards to protect them when reporting from trouble spots as “immoral” and a “disgrace”.
Speaking at a forum after the first screening of the Discovery Channel’s new Reporters at War documentary series, Adie was asked her view of CNN’s Brent Sadler, who described in Press Gazette last week how his security adviser returned fire to deadly effect after they were discovered by Iraqi forces in Tikrit ahead of the US invasion.
Jon Blair, Oscar-winning director of the Discovery series, felt Sadler’s actions in Tikrit mirrored those of John Simpson in Kabul and Max Hastings in the Falklands. “He was ‘liberating’ Tikrit,” said Blair. “Some would argue he was unlucky; others would say he was incredibly foolhardy.”
But Adie said the use of a gun undermined everything. “I think it’s absolutely immoral for any journalist to carry weapons,” she said.
“And I believe absolutely the argument that if you are going to carry weapons, you are therefore a combatant, therefore you are going to get shot. It’s absolutely disgraceful that there was a weapon used here.”
Fellow panellist Brian Hanrahan said: “I don’t know what the answer is. Journalistic integrity is one thing; being dead is quite another.”
By Ian Reeves