Russia - Ingushetia27 September 2002
British freelance journalist killed in battle zone
Reporters Without Borders today hailed the courage of British freelance
cameraman Roderick John Scott, killed yesterday in an exchange of shots between a group of Chechen fighters and Russian soldiers in the Caucasian republic of Ingushetia, adjoining Chechnya. But at the same time, the organisation deplored
the conditions in which most freelance journalists work, and it again called on
news organisations to adopt the charter on the security of journalists in zones
of conflict or tension and to implement its principles.
Scottís body was found by Russian forces among those of Chechen rebels killed
in the Ingush village of Galashki. He had been following a group of Chechen
fighters in the Pankissi Gorge, in Georgia, and was to have accompanied them
into Chechnya. A Georgian student who was acting as his interpreter was
reportedly also found dead in the same place.
Scott was one of the few freelance journalists to cover the Chechen conflict.
He had been doing so for several years, often working for Frontline TV, a
television news agency. Frontline TV director Vaughan Smith called Scott ìa
courageous young journalist who thought the western press was not covering the
war in Chechnya in an appropriate fashion. ìHe was aware of the risks he was
taking and knew it was worth it,î Smith said.
Although there is no such thing as zero risk in a war zone, the charter on the
security of journalists in zones of conflict or tension contains a series of
proposals centred on the following eight principles: commitment by news media,
government authorities and journalists to systematically seek ways to measure
and limit the risks run, participation of journalists entirely of their own
free will, field experience, prior preparation, adequate equipment, insurance
covering illness, repatriation, disability and death, psychological support and
legal protection for reporters.
Aware of the financial constraints affecting many freelance journalists,
Reporters Without Borders recommends a very affordable insurance policy offered
the IPS Bellini-Gutenberg group. When freelance photo-journalists and reporters
are on a working trip abroad or in France, they are covered for up to 90
consecutive days. The policy has three options: option 1 (for Ä3.00 a day)
provides assistance; options 2 and 3 (for Ä6.00 and Ä7.50 a day) provide
assistance and a lump sum in the event of accidental death or disability
resulting from a mishap while on mission. The lump sum is larger in option 3.
More information on the security charter and this insurance policy are
available on the www.rsf.org site.