'Strutting braggarts' put reporters at risk

Cramer: safety concerns growing

CNN’s Chris Cramer has launched an attack on "strutting braggart" journalists who, he claims, are making the job of reporting around the world more dangerous.

Speaking at the News World conference, the CNN International president hit out at the behaviour of "a minority of our colleagues" whose partial reporting serves to increase hostility towards Western journalists.

CNN has been losing in the ratings war to Fox News, which has attracted viewers with its pro-US reporting of the war on terror. Fox News’s star reporter, Geraldo Rivera, has defended his decision to take a gun into Afghanistan and has said publicly that he would "shoot Osama bin Laden".

Referring to the deaths of The Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Pearl and freelance cameraman Roddy Scott, Cramer said journalists were no longer recognised "as a special protected breed of men and women".

He added: "Often they think we are mere extensions of the governments in the countries we come from. The behaviour of a minority of our colleagues doesn’t help us. A strutting braggart of a journalist with a myopic view of the world ill serves us all and makes our jobs all the harder."

In a year when 13 journalists have been killed, Cramer said there was reason "to worry more than ever before" about safety issues. He called for news organisations to work together to protect journalists, who were increasingly an "easy touch" for kidnap and robbery, particularly as they often have to carry large sums of money.

"We should maybe work out how we can modify that practice," he said.

Cramer, former head of BBC newsgathering, called on news organisations to plan together how they will cover a war in Iraq. "Most of the news managers among us know it’s going to be fundamentally different this time from 10 years ago in the first Gulf War," he argued.

By Julie Tomlin in Dublin

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