Journalist pauses mid-report to help refugees ashore in Lesbos
Krishnan Guru-Murthy is being both praised and criticized for jumping into the fray while covering a story
A British journalist is being praised — and criticized by some — for his decision to jump in and help a group of struggling refugees out of their boat during a news report on the Greek island of Lesbos.
Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy was in Greece this week, along with many news teams from around the world, to report on the boatloads of refugees arriving there in search of asylum.
Thousands of people fleeing countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have come to the northern shore of Lesbos in recent weeks after making dangerous, and sometimes fatal, journeys across the sea from Turkey in small, flimsy boats.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Refugees?src=hash">#Refugees</a> arriving on the coast of Lesvos from Turkey this morning. Mostly people from Syria and Afghanistan. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CBC?src=hash">#CBC</a> <a href="http://t.co/pVpKXAXwHY">pic.twitter.com/pVpKXAXwHY</a>—@mevansCBC
Guru-Murthy was filming a report on the plight of refugees who continue to arrive on the island's shores when an overloaded dinghy filled with people approached behind him.
"As they approach the shore, we can see the panic still set on their faces. These are families with several young children," he says in footage later published by the news station. "This will be the fifth boat that has come in this morning."
Two volunteers can be seen behind the reporter, running up to the boat as it approaches. Guru-Murthy continues speaking towards the camera about the situation, noting that the overladen, inflatable boat is being steered by one of the refugees themselves.
The next clip shows men, women and children falling over each other to exit the boat, struggling to make their way to shore through the rock-filled water.
"Oh my God!" Guru-Murthy can be heard saying off-camera while a child cries in the background. When the camera pans over, the reporter can be seen helping a volunteer lift a very young boy off the rocks.
Subsequent shots show him full-on wading onto the rocks himself while carrying another child and pulling people ashore with his arms.
Then, in what many are calling the video's most heartwrenching moment (approximately 1 minute and 30 seconds into the video,) Guru-Murthy spots an elderly man being lifted out of the boat by several other men. He continues his report for a moment before pausing to watch the struggle.
Then, with a sign and one last frantic look back at the camera, he moves from his position and goes over to assist.
Reaction to the news clip online shows that Guru-Murthy's actions touched many hearts.
Sometimes journalists *do* get involved in the stories they cover. Well done, <a href="https://twitter.com/krishgm">@krishgm</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/c4news?src=hash">#c4news</a>—@MsMigot
<a href="https://twitter.com/Channel4News">@Channel4News</a> I think I just fell in love with <a href="https://twitter.com/krishgm">@krishgm</a>. Well done sir. Thank you for helping, not just reporting.—@JuliesNB
<a href="https://twitter.com/MsMigot">@MsMigot</a> Yes, bless you <a href="https://twitter.com/krishgm">@krishgm</a> for helping that old infirm refugee in the dinghy—@badsmiffy
<a href="https://twitter.com/krishgm">@krishgm</a> what you did on your report about refugees is HUMAN and NATURAL! well done! a normal person cant ignore <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RefugeeIsNotAnImmigrant?src=hash">#RefugeeIsNotAnImmigrant</a>—@mylifeistwit
Wouldn't expect anything less from the diamond <a href="https://twitter.com/krishgm">@krishgm</a>, but still a game changer that he didn't just spectate <a href="https://t.co/6yy5jUMfhk">https://t.co/6yy5jUMfhk</a>—@HarrietMyles_
Like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube were flooded comments of praise for Guru-Murthy.
Some, however, argued that his actions weren't appropriate for a reporter.
"Krishnan needs to remember that he is a journalist and stop his personal crusade," wrote one commenter on the Channel 4 News' Facebook page.
Others on YouTube accused the reporter of showing bias, or attempting to sway the story.
"It's funny how the mainstream media are trying to make us feel sorry for them by showing us staged sh*t like this," wrote one commenter. "It's not working on me."
On the whole, however, the response to this video has been overwhelmingly positive — particularly in light of what happened in the last video to go viral featuring a journalist interacting with refugees.
"Gotta say for Krishnan to stop what he was doing to actually start helping is very commendable and you don't see it very often in the press," wrote one Facebook commenter. "The only other time I've seen a someone in a news crew getting involved while they were supposed to be just covering the news, it was that horrible camerawoman a few days ago that was tripping up the refugees."