Correspondents 'get off' on war

Alagiah: "best to take sides"

A breed of reporters cover wars for "the adrenaline rush", BBC presenter George Alagiah told a conference in Ireland.

Alagiah, who attended the Galway conference on war reporting with colleague Misha Glenny, said this was why he is "uncomfortable" with the term "war correspondent".

He also said his experience had been "a constant clash" between the professional requirement to be impartial and the "personal instinct" to take sides.

He argued that the best journalism resulted from taking sides and said the need for common values should be stressed over a false impression of "objectivity".

Glenny, author of several books on the Balkans conflict, agreed that there were journalists who "got off" on war situations. But he also claimed that events in Yugoslavia illustrated the danger of taking sides, because it over-simplified the situation and created "a hierarchy of victimhood".

He said foreign journalists had descended on his homeland and took the moral high ground on a conflict they knew little about and were in danger of becoming "part of the conflict".

By Des Cryan in Dublin

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