Robert Fisk has attacked coverage of events in Syria, saying 'There's something faintly colonialist about all this'. He claims:
- That the "heroic myth" of the war correspondent has pervaded the public's consciousness to such an extent that journalists sent to cover conflicts now regard themselves as more important than the people on whom they are reporting.
- That an increasing awareness of safety in the news industry, and in particular the wearing of protective flak jackets, has created a sense that the lives of Western reporters are more valuable than those of 'foreign' civilians.
- That privileged and pampered members of the press, who jet into hostile environments and are able in Fisk's words to "fly home if the going gets too tough, business class with a glass of bubbly in their hands", can access counselling if they encounter psychological difficulties, whereas those left behind in war zones are forced to cope by themselves."
The BBC's Stuart Hughes details some of the backlash on the College of Journalism site. Is Fisk making a legitimate criticism of double standards in war reporting, or going too far in his claims? Isn't this just an inevitable consequence of the inherent inequality existing between reporters and citizens in a conflict zone?