Bayeux city hall and Reporters Without Borders inaugurate memorial to fallen journalists
Reporters Without Borders and the city of Bayeux, in Normandy, today inaugurated a Journalists Memorial in homage to the approximately 2,000 journalists, photographers, TV cameramen and soundmen who have been killed worldwide since 1944. The memorial is the first of its kind in Europe.
The Journalists Memorial consists of a landscaped promenade with white stones that will bear the names of the journalists who have been killed in the course of their work throughout the world since 1944. Four of the stones, covering the years 1997 to 2005, have already been put in place. The other stones will be engraved and installed at the site in the coming months.
The memorial was designed and built by Samuel Craquelin, 45, an architect and landscape designer based in Lillebonne (Seine Maritime) who was the winner of the environment ministry’s National Landscape Prize in 1995 and the senate’s Heritage Landscape Prize in 2003.
At total of 53 journalists and 17 media assistants have been killed worldwide since the start of this year. The deadliest countries for journalists in the past 10 years have been Iraq (with 77 killed), Colombia (38), Philippines (33), Serbia (22), Russia (21), India (19), Sierra Leone (16), Mexico (15), Bangladesh (13), Brazil (12), Sri Lanka (12) and Afghanistan (11).
The French press has not been spared. The names of at least 28 French journalists (see list below) will appear on the memorial’s stones.
With 103 journalists and media assistants killed in the past three years, the war in Iraq is without doubt the deadliest armed conflict for the press since the Second World War. The recent fighting in Lebanon and Somalia has yet again shown that journalists working in war zones are especially exposed.
The number of journalists killed in the Vietnam war during the two decades from 1955 to 1975 is estimated to have been at least 63. A total of 49 journalists and media assistants were killed in the course of the fighting in former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995. The number killed during Algeria’s civil war from 1993 to 1996 was 77.
Reporters Without Borders carries out a range of projects aimed at increasing the safety of journalists. For example, it is working with French legislators François Loncle and Pierre Lellouche - the authors of a report entitled “Safety of Journalists and Press Freedom in War Zones” - to get the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution protecting journalists and to get UNESCO to approve a convention reaffirming the right of journalists to safety in all circumstances.
List of French journalists killed in the course of their work since 1944
1951 - Jean-Marie de Premonville (AFP) - South Korea
1955 - Roger Ladevèze (France Soir) - Morocco
1955 - André Leveuf (France Soir) - Morocco
1955 - Roland Jourdan (NBC) - Morocco
1956 - Jean Roy (Paris Match) - Egypt
1956 - Jean-Pierre Pedrazzini (Paris Match) - Hungary
1962 - Paul Guihard (AFP) - United States
1967 - Bernard Fall (France-Amérique) - Vietnam
1970 - Gilles Caron (Gamma) - Cambodia
1970 - René Puissesseau (ORTF) - Cambodia
1970 - Raymond Meyer (ORTF) - Cambodia
1970 - Alain Clément (ORTF) - Cambodia
1970 - Claude Arpin (Newsweek) - Cambodia
1970 - Guy Hannoteaux (L’Express) - Cambodia
1970 - Roger Colne (NBC) - Cambodia
1971 - Francis Bailly (Gamma) - Cambodia
1975 - Michel Laurent (Gamma) - Vietnam
1975 - Paul Leandri (AFP) - Vietnam
1989 - Jean-Louis Calderon (La Cinq) - Romania
1991 - Pierre Blanchet (Nouvel Observateur) - Yugoslavia
1991 - Jean-Claude Jumel (TF1) - Somalia
1993 - Yvan Scopan (TF1) - Russia
1994 - Olivier Quemeneur (Australian Broadcasting
Corporation) - Algeria
2001 - Johanne Sutton (RFI) - Afghanistan
2001 - Pierre Billaud (RTL) - Afghanistan
2002 - Patrick Bourrat (TF1) - Kuwait
2003 - Jean Hélène (RFI) - Ivory Coast
2005 - Samir Kassir (An-Nahar) - Lebanon
Today’s inauguration was attended by relatives of some of the journalists whose names appear on the stones already in place:
Michèle Montas, the widow of Haitian radio journalist Jean Dominique, who was gunned down in Port-au-Prince in December 2000.
Elizabeth and Dan Sutton, the sister and brother of Radio France Internationale journalist Johanne Sutton, who was killed in 2001 in Afghanistan.
Hélène Billaud, the sister of journalist Pierre Billaud, who was also killed in Afghanistan on 11 November 2001.
Martine Bourrat, the widow of Patrick Bourrat, a leading TF1 correspondent who was killed in 2002 in Kuwait.
Anne Waddington, the sister of British independent filmmaker James Miller, who was killed by Israeli gunfire in Gaza in 2003.
Anne Baldens-Duflot, the sister of RFI reporter Jean Hélène, who was murdered in Côte d’Ivoire in 2003.
The family of Deyda Hydara, the editor of the weekly The Point and Gambia correspondent of AFP and Reporters Without Borders, who was shot dead in Banjul in 2004.
Gisèle Khoury, the widow of Samir Kassir, a journalist with French and Lebanese dual nationality, who was blown up by a bomb planted in his car on 2 June 2005 in Beirut.