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Safety concerns after a tragedy

The Story


CTV foreign correspondent Clark Todd died while reporting from Lebanon in 1983. The news sent shockwaves throughout the world of Canadian journalism. In this excerpt from a 1983 Foreign Correspondents' Forum, an audience member asks the panel how Todd's death has affected the way foreign reporters do their jobs. Are they taking more safety precautions now? Taking fewer risks? Journalists Brian Stewart, Don Murray and Joe Schlesinger weigh in with their thoughts on the issue. 

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News Special
Broadcast Date: Jan. 14, 1984
Guest(s): Don Murray, Joe Schlesinger, Brian Stewart
Host: Knowlton Nash
Duration: 4:29
The man in the accompanying photo is Clark Todd, CTV reporter killed in Lebanon in 1983.

Did You know?


• Initial reports said Todd was hit in the chest by shrapnel in Lebanon, but the exact details of the CTV reporter's 1983 death are sketchy. In 2002, his three children went to Lebanon to find out more. In Maclean's magazine, his daughter Anna Todd outlined several conflicting stories they were told in Lebanon of how he died. "It was then that I realized we'll never know what really happened... War is mayhem. There is no order to events. The only person who knows is Dad. And he's gone."

• In a 2004 Ryerson Review of Journalism article, Brian Stewart commented on the increase in risks faced by foreign correspondents: "Since the mid-'80s, journalists have become targets. Teenage militia soldiers were ever more psychopathic; almost overnight, snipers and landmines were more commonplace and parcel bombs escalated to car bombs powerful enough to shred victims two blocks from a blast site."

• The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has kept statistics on the number of journalists killed internationally since 1992. There were 609 journalists killed between 1992 and December 2006. According to the CPJ stats, 93 of those deaths were in Iraq, and 44 per cent of the total journalists killed were covering some sort of war. The majority (72.6 per cent) were determined to have been murdered, with 17.6 per cent having been killed in a crossfire or combat-related incident.


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