Wartime deaths of journalists

By David Bulla

In the last fortnight, two journalists have lost their lives while covering the war in Afghanistan.

In late December, Canada’s Michelle Lang died when a roadside bomb detonated under the armored vehicle in which she and Canadian soldiers were riding. Four Canadian soldiers died in the blast in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar.

Lang, 34, was the first Canadian journalist killed in the conflict. The reporter worked for the Calgary Herald.

Before going to Afghanistan, Lang had been a health reporter for the Herald. She won Canada’s National Newspaper Award in 2008 for best beat reporting.

This past week, England’s Rupert Hamer, a veteran war correspondent with London’s Sunday Mirror, was similarly killed in Afghanistan.

The 39-year-old Hamer, embedded with U.S. Marines,  was traveling in a truck that hit a roadside bomb in Helmand Province. Philip Coburn, a Mirror photographer, was injured. The bomb also killed a Marine and an Afghan soldier.

While neither reporter was American, their deaths nonetheless represent yet another reminder of the price of press freedom in wartime.

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