A succession of military sources have lined up to rubbish former Times journalist Stephen Farrell for inadvertantly putting British solidiers lives at risk by allowing himself to be taken hostage in Afghanistan.
Former Daily Telegraph editor Max Hastings even suggests today that had he been Farrell’s boss he would have been against launching a raid to rescue him:
“In my days as a newspaper editor, had I been asked whether such a raid should be launched to liberate a correspondent whom I employed, I would unhesitatingly have answered: No.”
In his account of what happened, Farrell explains that he was in the Taleban controlled area near Kundus to investigate allegations that the Nato bombing of stolen oil tankers had led to widespread civilian deaths.
It is difficult to think of a more worthy story to be going after.
Farrell explains how judgements were made on safety throughout, based on advice from local fixers and others.
If journalists were to slavishly follow official military advice over what to cover and what not to cover we would have a very one-sided view of the Afghanistan, and Iraq, conflicts.