Friends and colleagues of freelance journalist Richard Wild, killed in Baghdad at the weekend, have rejected suggestions that he was “foolhardy” in his attempt to be a war reporter in Iraq.
Wild was shot at point-blank range outside the Iraqi Natural History Museum by a local assailant, who faded into the crowd after the killing.
Wild, a former soldier, had worked briefly for ITN and Channel 4. He was a picture archivist on the recent Channel 4 documentary The True Face of War, before heading off to Baghdad as a freelance reporter.
He is understood to have been inspired to travel to Iraq by footage on the programme. Cassian Harrison, executive producer on The True Face of War, said Wild was inexperienced as a war reporter, but not rash.
“No, he was not foolhardy. When I worked with him he was very professional and very on the ball. What happened to him was very unfortunate,” he told Press Gazette.
Elizabeth Ray, a reporter on The Sunday Telegraph and former girlfriend of Wild, said he was “incredibly calm and gentle” and took lots of advice from people before he went to Iraq.
“He had been in the army for a year and was the best person you could hope for in a crisis. What happened to him was terribly unlucky, but
definitely not foolhardy.”
Harrison, who was also a friend and colleague of James Miller, killed by Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip in May, added: “I get the impression he may have been targeted as a westerner in a city where Western presence is becoming more resented.”
ITN chief executive Stewart Purvis said: “We are shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Richard Wild. In the six months he worked at ITN he was regarded as a dedicated and popular member of the newsroom teams.”
by Wale Azeez